Geology of the King crater region: New insights into impact melt dynamics on the Moon



[1] New geologic sketch maps and digital elevation models for King crater and the surrounding lunar farside highlands were created from Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) Wide-angle Camera (WAC) and Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) images. NAC images reveal that high volume impact melt accumulations exhibit evidence of dynamic processes during and following emplacement that resulted in downwarped zones, and other morphologic anomalies visible at the 50 cm pixel scale. Among the most significant of these forms are negative relief features, some of which may represent evidence for near-surface caverns, offering points of access to subsurface environments and possible shelter from surface hazards. Other negative relief features may represent regions of extension and separation in response to possible subsurface drainage, together with isostatic readjustments, contraction, and/or compaction, in the cooling impact melt. Crater counts on the continuous ejecta blanket suggest a Late Eratosthenian to Copernican age for King crater, which is older than the estimate of Young (1977), but consistent with those of others.