Lunar lava layers and their Hawaiian analogs

Post contributed by Dr. M. Elise Rumpf, Astrogeology Science Center, US Geological Survey.

Images of the lunar surface reveal layered deposits presumed to be sequences of basaltic lava flows. These sequences have been imaged since the Apollo astronauts acquired both orbital and surface photographs in the 1960s and 1970s. Apollo 15 astronauts visited Hadley Rille, a 130 km long, 200 m deep sinuous feature that was formed by flowing lava, similar to lava channels or tubes on Earth. Photographs taken by the astronauts (such as Image 1) show that the rille cut into the underlying substrate, revealing sequences of layered material. The layers are believed to be basaltic lava flows, based on outcrop morphologies and nearby samples. The thicknesses of ancient lava flows provide insight into the emplacement, dynamics, and history of volcanism on the Moon.

Image 1: Apollo 15 surface image of the interior wall of Hadley Rille (https://www.hq.nasa.gov/alsj/a15/AS15-89-12106HR.jpg). Inset highlights layered deposits presumed to be basaltic lava flows with possible intercalated regolith deposits. Outcrop is approximately 8 meters thick.

(more…)
  • Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • Io

  • Blog Stats

    • 122,299 hits