The moon

, Volume 3, Issue 1, pp 3–78 | Cite as

Moon: Origin and evolution of multi-ring basins

  • W. K. Hartmann
  • C. A. Wood


This paper summarizes current data and new observations on lunar basin systems. Parts 1–4 review earlier literature and give new crater-counts used to reconstruct basin histories. Among the results are: basin rings are defined by faults, hills, craters, and/or wrinkle ridges; all of these are inter-related; √2 plays a special role in the ratios of ring diameters; flooding occurred in many basins prior to the formation of the familiar front-side maria; 3 km is a typical depth of lava flooding in basins. Parts 5–11 interpret these results in terms of origin and evolution of basins. Polar concentrations of basins and old, large craters are found (Figures 28 and 29). Basins originated by impacts of very early planetesimals left over from or created during formation of the Moon (6). Concentric fractures were produced by the impacts. Concentric rings developed along fractures during subsequent sagging of the basin into partially melted substrata, along the lines of theory and experiments by Lance and Onat (1962) (Figures 36 and 37). There is marginal empirical evidence that some rings formed significantly after their basins (8). The structure of specific rings depended on the nature of volcanic products extruded. Wrinkle ridges, ‘peak-rings’, rings of craters, concentric graben, and central peaks are all consequences of basin-forming evolutionary processes (9, Figure 41), Flooding by lava was a final stage in basin evolution. Lava extruded from concentric ring-faults, wrinkle ridges, and crater and basin rims (10). Mascons are directly correlated with the amount of mare lava, but not correlated with basin age or morphology (11). Section 12 summarizes the results and compares them to those of other authors.


Polar Concentration Early Literature Central Peak Concentric Ring Concentric Fracture 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company 1971

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. K. Hartmann
    • 1
  • C. A. Wood
    • 2
  1. 1.IIT Research InstituteTucsonUSA
  2. 2.Lunar and Planetary LaboratoryUniversity of ArizonaTucsonUSA

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