The moon and the planets

, Volume 20, Issue 3, pp 281–300

Emplacement of Fahrenheit craterejecta at the luna-24 site


  • Mark Settle
    • Dept. of Geological SciencesBrown University
  • Mark J. Cintala
    • Dept. of Geological SciencesBrown University
  • James W. Head
    • Dept. of Geological SciencesBrown University

DOI: 10.1007/BF00907580

Cite this article as:
Settle, M., Cintala, M.J. & Head, J.W. The Moon and the Planets (1979) 20: 281. doi:10.1007/BF00907580


The Luna-24 site is situated in Mare Crisium at a range of 18.4 km from Fahrenheit, an Eratosthenian-aged crater 6.4 km in diameter. Fahrenheit's ejecta deposits have been degraded to such an extent that secondary craters and rays cannot be unambiguously identified in the vicinity of the Luna-24 site. On the basis of an analogy between Fahrenheit and Lichtenberg B (a much younger crater of comparable size located in northern Oceanus Procellarum) Fahrenheit ejecta deposits near the sample site are inferred to have consisted of secondary crater clusters, subradially aligned secondary crater chains, and lineated terrain furrowed by fine-scale radial grooves. At the range of the Luna-24 site more than 80% of the mare surface should have been morphologically disturbed by the ballistic deposition of Fahrenheit ejecta. Blocks and fragment clusters of primary Fahrenheit ejecta ranging up to 5–20 m in diameter are inferred to have impacted the local surface at velocities of 165–230 m s−1 forming secondary craters ranging up to 100 m in diameter. The maximum depth of excavation of primary Fahrenheit ejecta deposited near the sample site is estimated to be at least 100 m. Primary Fahrenheit ejecta is expected to constitute a substantial fraction of the exterior deposits emplaced at the range of the Luna-24 site. Microgabbro and monomineralic fragments discovered in the Luna-24 drill core may have been derived from gabbroic rocks transported to the sample site by the Fahrenheit cratering event. This hypothesis is consistent with the widespread occurrence and characteristics of Fahrenheit ejecta anticipated in the vicinity of the Luan-24 site. Current interpretations of the drill core sample suggest that the Luna-24 regolith was deposited in its present configuration sometime during the last 0.3 AE implying that at least one local cratering event has occurred since the emplacement of Fahrenheit ejecta ∼2.0±0.5 AE ago.

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© D. Reidel Publishing Co 1979