Cryptomare Formation

 Our current work involves mapping out lunar cryptomare, basaltic mare material that has, over the lifetime of the Moon, been buried by the dust spewed out by meteor impacts.  Radar is a useful tool for observing subsurface volcanic rock because of its ability to penetrate below the visible surface and show features invisible to optical or higher-frequency radar.

But one question is how do these cryptomare form?  Once we can see where they are, can we categorize how they got covered up in the first place?

Among the small community studying cryptomaria, there are 4 categories of their formation processes.  Don't let the jargony names confuse you -- all this is showing is different ways that an impact can kick up dust over a volcanic region and cover it with rock of a different material.

(Or, in layman's terms, these are different ways space rocks smash into the Moon and poof lighter dust over darker rocks.)

Cryptomare formation processes, with blue indicating mare material.  (Figure by me!)

Copernicus-type cryptomare are misleadingly named; as it has no association with the impact site named Copernicus.  It is quite simply an area of mare on which a meteorite has directly impacted, exhuming non-mare material from beneath the flow and ejecting it over the surface.

Balmer-type describes a cryptomare formed by several nearby impacts.

Proximal Ejecta type is a cryptomare covered by a single nearby impact, while the

Distal Ejecta type is merely a cryptomare covered by a single distant impact.


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