Mare Humorum: where craters tell the story of basalt

Good use of multiple data sources to do planetary science. [cf. #TheDissertation]

Mare Humorum: where craters tell the story of basalt [via EurekAlert! Public News List]

Mare Humorum, or ‘Sea of Moisture’, is a small circular mare on the lunar nearside, about 825 kilometres across. The mountains surrounding it mark the edge of an old impact basin which has been flooded and filled by mare lavas. These lavas also extend past the basin rim in several places. In the upper right are several such flows which extend northwest into southern Oceanus Procellarum.


Mare Humorum is a scientifically interesting area because it allows the study of the relationships among lunar mare filling, mare basin tectonics, and global thermal evolution to the major mascon maria – regions of the moon’s crust which contain a large amount of material denser than average for that area (Solomon, Head, 1980).

Past studies (Budney, Lucey) revealed that craters in the mare Humorum sometimes excavate highland material, allowing to estimate the thickness from below the mare cover. Thanks to this, it was also possible to determine that the ‘multiring’ structure of the Humorum basin has a diameter of 425 kilometres (results based on the US Clementine global topography data). (more)