Radar, infrared, and photogeologic properties of lunar craters have been studied to determine whether there is a systematic difference in blocky craters between the maria and terrae and whether this difference may be due to a deep megaregolith of pulverized material forming the terra surface, as opposed to a layer of semi-coherent basalt flows forming the mare surface. Some 1310 craters from about 4 to 100 km diameter have been catalogued as radar and/or infrared anomalies. In addition, a study of Apollo Orbital Photography confirmed that the radar and infrared anomalies are correlated with blocky rubble around the crater.Analysis of the radar and infrared data indicated systematic terra—mare differences. Fresh terra craters smaller than 12 km were less likely to be infrared and radar anomalies than comparable mare craters: but terra and mare craters larger than 12 km had similar infrared and radar signatures. Also, there are many terra craters which are radar bright but not infrared anomalies.Our interpretation of these data is that while the maria are rock layers (basaltic flow units) where craters eject boulder fields, the terrae are covered by relatively pulverized megaregolith at least 2 km deep, where craters eject less rocky rubble. Blocky rubble, either in the form of actual rocks or partly consolidated blocks, contributes to the radar and infrared signatures of the crater. However, aging by impacts rapidly destroys these effects, possibly through burial by secondary debris or by disintegration of the blocks themselves, especially in terra regions.
T. Thompson, W. 0. Roberts, W. Hartmann
The moon and the planets