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Keywords:

  • Imbrium;
  • Moon;
  • Serenitatis;
  • ages;
  • basins;
  • cataclysm

[1] New images from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera show the distribution and geological relations of the Sculptured Hills, a geological unit widespread in the highlands between the Serenitatis and Crisium basins. The Sculptured Hills shows knobby, undulating, radially textured, and plains-like morphologies and in many places is indistinguishable from the similarly knobby Alpes Formation, a facies of ejecta from the Imbrium basin. The new LROC image data show that the Sculptured Hills in the Taurus highlands is Imbrium ejecta and not directly related to the formation of the Serenitatis basin. This occurrence and the geological relations of this unit suggests that the Apollo 17 impact melts may not be not samples of the Serenitatis basin-forming impact, leaving their provenance undetermined and origin unexplained. If the Apollo 17 melt rocks are Serenitatis impact melt, up to half of the basin and large crater population of the Moon was created within a 30 Ma interval around 3.8 Ga in a global impact “cataclysm.” Either interpretation significantly changes our view of the impact process and history of the Earth-Moon system.