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GRAIL Identifies Moon Dikes
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GRAIL Identifies Moon Dikes

December 21, 2012
A profile across one of the linear gravity anomalies found by NASA's GRAIL mission shows that it has higher gravity than the surroundings (the anomaly is the red line in graph at bottom left; its location is shown as a blue line in the center of the GRAIL gravity gradient map at top left). Models show that this gravity pattern indicates the presence of giant dikes beneath the surface of the moon (white line in graph at bottom left). A dike is a solidified magma filled crack that forms beneath the surface. Dikes on Earth are sometimes exposed by erosion so that they are visible on the surface, as seen at Ship Rock, New Mexico, pictured here at right. The lunar dikes identified by GRAIL are 50 times longer and 1,000 times wider than the dike seen here. Image credits, Left: NASA/JPL-Caltech/CSM, Right: Photo Copyright © Louis Maher


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