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  • Print publication year: 2012
  • Online publication date: October 2012

27 - Montes Alpes


Montes Alpes

46.4°N, 0.8°W

The Alps, a tremendous range of mountains, were named by the Polish astronomer Hevelius (1611—1687). They border the northeastern area of Mare Imbrium over a distance of about 280 km, and have an average height of 2.4 km. The lunar Alps are a portion of the wall of the enormous Imbrium Basin. The southern end of the Alps ends in two Capes, Promontorium Agassiz and Promontorium Deville. With low illumination at sunrise, the mountain peaks throw numerous spectacular shadows onto to the lava-covered surface of Mare Imbrium.

Mont Blanc 45.4°N, 0.6°E

The lunar Mont Blanc is the highest peak in the Alpine chain at about 3.6 km high. Its surface area amounts to about 200 km2.

Vallis Alpes 48.5°N, 3.2°E

The Alpine Valley, with its overall length of just 170 km, is undoubtedly one of the most spectactular objects of lunar topography, and is a prominent landmark in the northern area of the Moon. It attains a maximum width of 11 km, and lies nearly radially to the centre of the Imbrium Basin, cutting the Alpine mountains into northwestern and southeastern sections. The Vallis Alpes is not a geological surface feature like valleys on Earth, which have been formed by running water and erosion. It consists of two, parallel tectonic fracture zones (similar to the Rift Valley in East Africa), between which the lunar surface has broken and subsided. It is actually a gigantic-sized, but typical, linear rille.

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The Cambridge Photographic Moon Atlas
  • Online ISBN: 9781139095709
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