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Why Not a Constant Early Lunar Impact Rate?Two distinct episodes of impacting are recorded on the Moon's surface. An early episode marked by an intense barrage that included basin-forming projectiles ended about 3.8 aeons ago when the Orientale basin was created. The second episode, after 3.2 or 3.3 aeons ago, was marked by a much lower impact rate. These very different rates are separated by a short transition period during the Late Imbrian Epoch. It is found that a constant preImbrian impact rate is consistent with all the relevant observations and with the following lunar historical scenario: (1) crustal solidification between about 4.3 and 4.25 aeons ago; (2) formation of Procellarum, South Pole-Aitken, about 22 now-obliterated basins, and about 2,850 now-obliterated 30 to 300 km craters between 4.25 and 4.1 aeons ago; and (3) formation of 39 still-preserved basins, 1,200 still-perserved craters, and 2,200 now-obliterated craters between 4.1 and 3.85 aeons ago. At the constant rate, the amount of mass that impacted the Moon since crustal solidification would not greatly exceed the amount that has left a permanent visible record.
Document ID
19850015225
Document Type
Other
Authors
Wilhelms, D. E.
(Geological Survey Menlo Park, CA, United States)
Date Acquired
August 12, 2013
Publication Date
April 1, 1985
Publication Information
Publication: NASA, Washington Repts. of Planetary Geol. and Geophys. program, 1984
Subject Category
Lunar And Planetary Exploration
Accession Number
85N23536
Distribution Limits
Public
Copyright
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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