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Title: Origin and implications of non-radial Imbrium Sculpture on the Moon

Rimmed grooves, lineations and elongate craters around Mare Imbrium shape much of the nearside Moon. This pattern was coined the Imbrium Sculpture1, and it was originally argued that it must have been formed by a giant oblique (~30°) impact, a conclusion echoed by later studies2. Some investigators, however, noticed that many elements of the Imbrium Sculpture are not radial to Imbrium, thereby implicating an endogenic or structural origin3, 4. Here we use these non-radial trends to conclude that the Imbrium impactor was a proto-planet (half the diameter of Vesta), once part of a population of large proto-planets in the asteroid belt. Such independent constraints on the sizes of the Imbrium and other basin-forming impactors markedly increase estimates for the mass in the asteroid belt before depletion caused by the orbital migration of Jupiter and Saturn5. Furthermore, laboratory impact experiments, shock physics codes and the groove widths indicate that multiple fragments (up to 2% of the initial diameter) from each oblique basin-forming impactor, such as the one that formed Imbrium, should have survived planetary collisions and contributed to the heavy impact bombardment between 4.3 and 3.8 billion years ago.
 [1] ;  [2]
  1. Brown Univ., Providence, RI (United States)
  2. Sandia National Lab. (SNL-NM), Albuquerque, NM (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 0028-0836; 640983
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Nature (London)
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: Nature (London); Journal Volume: 535; Journal Issue: 7612; Journal ID: ISSN 0028-0836
Nature Publishing Group
Research Org:
Sandia National Lab. (SNL-NM), Albuquerque, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), Office of Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation (NA-20)
Country of Publication:
United States