Three Impact Events

4500 meter diameter Copernican crater on rim of Orientale basin
Spectacular 4500-meter diameter crater (10.67°S, 225.82°E) formed at the intersection of the rims of Lowell W crater (18-kilometer diameter) and the Orientale basin (750-kilometer diameter). Impact melt and debris spilled from the low point of this not-named crater, 1800-meters downslope from the crater rim high point. East-to-west view, spacecraft altitude 76 kilometers, M1231377442LR [NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University].


The face of the Moon has been predominantly shaped by three processes: impact, volcanism, and tectonism. The trio of impact events that resulted in this spectacular corner of the Moon occurred over nearly four billion years of lunar history; first, the Orientale basin (>3.7 billion years), Lowell W (one to three billion years), and finally, this unnamed crater (likely <100 million years).

Context map showing 4500 meter diameter crater, Lowell W, Orientale basin rim
LROC WAC topographic map highlighting the location of the 4500-meter diameter crater shown in the opening image (arrow), Lowell W, and Orientale basin rim that runs from the upper center to the lower left. Contour interval 500 meters, map width 140 kilometers [NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University].

Explore the complex scenery of this landscape; in particular, notice the giant slump block (landslide) that spilled onto the basin floor when Lowell W formed.

Full oblique image of this dramatic corner of the Orientale basin; east-to-west view, spacecraft altitude 76 kilometers, acquired on 17 October 2016, M1231377442LR [NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University].

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Published by Mark Robinson on 20 February 2023