Tag Archive | Volcano

Up and Down the Marius Hills

Looking a little like a lunar air base complete with landing strips this patch of rugged terrain was posted on the forum by kodemunkey who came across it on one of his regular visits to the Marius hills region of Oceanus Procellarum. It’s difficult to see what’s going on without looking at the wider picture. Below are 2 views of the immediate surroundings under different illumination angles. It’s a good example of how the appearance of the lunar landscape changes under different sun angles. The pale tracks in the first image appear black in the second and only by examining both images can we get a full picture of the surrounding terrain. Click on the NAC references to explore the area in more detail. Note the NACs are rotated 1800 and the following images are corrected for north up.
Incidence angle 75.3
NACs M193289571LE and M193289571RE
Incidence angle 36.2
NACs M183861185LE and M183861185RE

14.3N -50.6W

An even wider view places the feature north west of Marius R crater in an area where the outer rays from Aristarchus, Kepler and several craters to the west overlap on the eastern edge of the Marius hills. This particularly rugged terrain is also marked by lava flows, sinuous rilles and mare ridges. About half of the Moon’s volcanic domes are in this region. Lunar domes are much smaller than shield volcanoes on Earth. The Marius hills range from 200-500m in height whereas the Mauna Loa volcano in Hawaii (the largest shield volcano on Earth) is 17,170m tall. Here is a wide field image with the featured region indicated showing its proximity to the Marius domes:

image from Global Morphologic Map

Photographed from a more oblique angle by the LRO’s Wide Angle Camera the domes are more impressive:

from LPOD 

So what is going on in kodemunkey’s image? Rotating the image so that north is up and using the topography graph from the ACT-REACT Quick Map shows a steep drop from west to east. Lava flows appear to have created a complex knot of ridges and valleys. The pale tracks at top left are very bouldery and connect to 2 small craters suggesting that they are more recent landslides and flow from higher ground towards the lower rugged region.

bigger image

Kodemunkey found his image from the latest LRO data release 11.

ACT-REACT Quick Map link
Paper: Compositional variability of the Marius Hills volcanic complex from the Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3)


Welcome to Moon Zoo

Moon Zoo launch has arrived! After over a year of planning, discussing and debating, Moon Zoo is finally being launched today. It is an exciting time for all the people who have been working hard on the project: from the geologists and planetary scientists who helped to conceive the scientific rationale behind the tasks, to the computer whizzes and Galaxy Zoo gurus who have made the whole thing possible.

We would especially like to thank all those at NASA, Goddard Space Flight Center and Arizona State University who planned, designed, built, calibrated and operated the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) and LRO mission. We are using LROC images that have been archived through the Planetary Data System. We are incredibly grateful that NASA and the LROC team is willing to share these images with the rest of the world so that we can all enjoy looking at the surface of our nearest neighbour. If you would like to know more about the LROC camera I suggest taking at look at their great website and more information about the LRO mission itself can be seen at here.

So, down to it. Why should you spend your time working hard on Moon Zoo tasks? Well there are several pages on this site that will help to explain the science behind Moon Zoo in more detail, but in short we hope that Moon Zoo data will provide new insights into the geological history of the Moon from volcanic eruptions to asteroid impact events. Studying LROC images of the lunar surface provides a close up view that has never been seen before and we want to use this powerful new dataset to investigate the nature of the lunar surface. We hope to collect a database of the size and dimensions of small (less than 2 km) lunar craters that will be helpful not only to understanding impact cratering processes on the Moon, but also that can help studying the history of impact bombardment throughout the inner Solar System from Mars, to Mercury and even here on Earth.

We want you to spot lunar geological features that we think are really interesting – from billion-year-old volcanic vent sites to curving lava channels, to brand new impact craters that might have formed in the last forty years. You can see examples of these types of things on the Moon Zoo tutorial page. We also want you to help find out which parts of the Moon are covered with boulders so that we can develop hazard maps that could be used by future spacecraft and human exploration missions to plan the best and worst sites to land on the lunar surface! There are a lot of things to do in Moon Zoo and we have more planned for the future. Most of all – just have fun looking at the amazing diversity of the lunar surface – I certainly have not got bored of looking through these images and hope that you are as equally excited to explore our Moon.

Hope that you enjoy helping out with the investigation and please do leave comments here on the blog, and on the Moon Zoo Forum if you have any feedback, suggestions or questions.