By John George Williams
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Note that the Moon at this remote epoch already looks familiar. (Courtesy D. E. ) the lava plains. No Imbrium ejecta is observed on the smooth plains of Mare Serenitatis. Conversely, no material thrown out during the excavation of Serenitatis is seen over the surface of the Imbrium basin lavas. This observation [lo] also means that the eruption of the mare basalts came well after the excavation of the basins which they occupy. These are clearly of differing ages, shown by the various degrees of destruction of their rims.
If Tycho formed during the Mesozoic era on Earth (65-225 million years ago), it provides evidence that large objects were in earth-crossing orbit at that time. Accordingly the notion of a similar impact on the Earth at the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary receives additional credibility . Tectonic features in the terrestrial sense are rare on the Moon. Mostly they appear to be associated with vertical motion, producing small grabens, for example. Most of these features are probably related to crustal loading by the filling of the impact basins by mare basalts (see Chapters 6,7).
Following Galileo's observation in 1610 that the Moon did not have a smooth spherical surface, but was rough and mountainous, speculation about the origin of the lunar landforms continued for three and a half centuries. Our appreciation of the forces responsible for shaping the surface of our own planet has taken about the same time to comprehend. Many of the major lunar features can be ascertained in Figs. 2. 1 is afull-moon photograph, on which the most prominent features are the young rayed craters, such as Tycho, Copernicus, and Kepler.