Lobate thrust fault scarps on the Moon

Smithsonian Institution
September 15, 2015
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Smithsonian Institution

Thousands of young, lobate thrust fault scarps have been revealed in Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera images (LROC). Lobate scarps like the one shown here are like stair-steps in the landscape formed when crustal materials are pushed together, break and are thrust upward along a fault forming a cliff.  Cooling of the still hot lunar interior is causing the Moon to shrink, but the pattern of orientations of the scarps indicate that tidal forces are contributing to the formation of the young faults.

Smithsonian Institution photo