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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

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987