Seen here is a lava-carved channel within another lava-carved channel on the Moon!
A volcanically active Moon in the past carved with hot lava what is considered the Moon’s Grand Canyon – Vallis Schröteri. It runs for 160 km, is up to 11 km wide and almost 0.5 km deep. It is remarkable that in this lava-carved valley runs another! It is a sign that multiple volcanic eruption events occurred in the past in the same region.
Today’s featured image is a section of the entire valley, as highlighted in the image below.
We can use the draw tool from the wonderful LROC Quickmap to see a depth profile of the lava-carved channels.
You can see clear dips in depth as the secondary channel cuts across. Beautiful! Explore the profile yourself here.
There’s also a 3D view of the area from Moon Monday’s previous post! Put on your 3D glasses!
Like the previously covered Rimae Prinz and Rimae Posidonious, the lava that carved these channels must be highly fluid (having low viscosity) to cause such striking twists and turns. How are they caused?
Physically examining and sampling more such sinuous lava channels via future lunar missions is exciting because they expose layers of past lava flows, giving us an entry point into the Moon’s volcanic history.