Why are there more maria on the near side of the Moon?
My astronomy instructor said that there are more maria on the near side of the Moon than there are on the far side of the Moon. Is this true and if so why? If they were created by asteroid collisions, would there not likely be more on the far side of the moon, away from the earth than on the side that faces the Earth, since the far side is not blocked by the Earth?
Yes, the craters on the Moon were created by impacts from meteorites. It is thought that tidal effects have caused the crust of the Moon to be thinner on the "Earthward side". During the formation of the Moon, lava flows were able to move through this thinner crust and flood the basins on the near side, but not as much on the far side of the Moon. The areas of these lava flows are what we now call maria, which is Latin for "seas".
Get More 'Curious?' with Our New PODCAST:
- Podcast? Subscribe? Tell me about the Ask an Astronomer Podcast
- Subscribe to our Podcast | Listen to our current Episode
- Cool! But I can't now. Send me a quick reminder now for later.
How to ask a question:
If you have a follow-up question concerning the above subject, submit it here. If you have a question about another area of astronomy, find the topic you're interested in from the archive on our site menu, or go here for help.Table 'curious.Referrers' doesn't existTable 'curious.Referrers' doesn't exist
This page has been accessed 24668 times since November 7, 2003.
Last modified: November 11, 2003 7:23:24 PM
Ask an Astronomer is hosted by the Astronomy Department at Cornell University and is produced with PHP and MySQL.
Warning: Your browser is misbehaving! This page might look ugly. (Details)