The moon and the planets

, Volume 27, Issue 1, pp 91–106 | Cite as

Analysis of crater distributions in mare units on the lunar far side

  • A. S. Walker
  • Farouk El-Baz


Mare material is asymmetrically distributed on the Moon. The Earth-facing hemisphere, where the crust is believed to be 26 km thinner than on the farside, contains substantially more basaltic mare material. Using Lunar Topographic Orthophoto Maps, we calculated the thickness of the mare material in three farside craters, Aitken (0.59 km), Isaev (1.0 km), and Tsiolkovskiy (1.75 km). We also studied crater frequency distribution in five farside mare units (Aitken, Isaev, Lacus Solitudinis, Langemak, and Tsiolkovskiy) and one light plains unit (in Mendeleev). Nearly 10 000 farside craters were counted. Analysis of the crater frequency on the light plains unit gives an age of 4.3 billion yr. Crater frequency distributions on the mare units indicate ages of 3.7 and 3.8 billion yr, suggesting that the units are distributed over a narrow time period of approximately 100 million yr. Returned lunar samples from nearside maria give dates as young as 3.1 billion yr. The results of this study suggest that mare basalt emplacement on the far side ceased before it did on the near side.


Frequency Distribution Narrow Time Lunar Sample Basaltic Mare Plain Unit 
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Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Co 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. S. Walker
    • 1
  • Farouk El-Baz
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Earth and Planetary Studies, National Air and Space MuseumSmithsonian InstitutionWashington, DCUSA

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