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No. 43: Jan-Feb 1986

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Anomalous distribution of large, fresh lunar craters

The overwhelming majority of astronomers favors a meteor-impact origin for the giant fresh lunar craters. (Here, "fresh" means post-mare formation.) Such an origin would seem to favor random distribution of these craters.

"However, it appears that the distribution of these large, fresh craters is far from random, contrary to what would be expected if their mechanism of formation was by impact. Even the most casual observer of the Moon cannot help but note that the maria contain very few large craters. The more experienced observer will take note of several apparent anomalies. Six magnificent post-mare craters are almost fortuitously located immediately adjacent to mare regions, these being Langrenus, Theophilus, Cavelerius, Aristoteles, Aristarchus, and Copernicus"

The author of these observations then buttresses them with a statistical analysis, which indicates a strong, nonrandom distribution of all of these fresh craters. Apparently, the volcano-meteorite controversy is not completely settled after all these years.

(Kitt, Michael T,; "Anomalous Distribution of Large, Fresh Lunar Craters," Strolling Astronomer, 31:22, 1985.)

Comment. Some of the fresh craters on the mare borders, such as Aristarchus and Copernicus, are well-known sites of lunar transient phenomena. Could they be analogous to the terrestrial volcanos constituting the "ring of fire" around the Pacific Basin?

From Science Frontiers #43, JAN-FEB 1986. 1986-2000 William R. Corliss