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The Surface and Landforms of Moon
|vocabulary of landforms|
|facts about Moon|
|information about landforms|
The most distinctive aspect of the Moon is the contrast between its light and dark zones. Lighter surfaces are the lunar highlands, which receive the name of terrae (singular terra, from the Latin for Earth), and the darker plains are called maria (singular mare, from the Latin for sea), after Johannes Kepler who introduced the name in the 1600s. The highlands are anorthositic in composition, whereas the maria are basaltic. The maria often coincide with the "lowlands," but it is important to note that the lowlands (such as within the South Pole Aitkin basin) are not always covered by maria. The highlands are older than the visible maria, and hence are more heavily cratered.
The major products of voulcanic processes on the Moon are evident to the Earth-bound observer in the form of the lunar maria. These are large flows of basaltic lava that correspond to low-albedo surfaces covering nearly a third of the near side. Only a few percent of the farside has been affected by mare volcanism. Even before the Apollo missions confirmed it, most scientists believed that the maria were lava-filled plains, since they possessed lava flow patterns and collapses attributed to lava-tubes. …
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