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Science. 1994 Dec 16;266(5192):1848-51.

Ancient multiring basins on the moon revealed by clementine laser altimetry.


Analysis of laser altimetry data from Clementine has confirmed and extended our knowledge of nearly obliterated multiring basins on the moon. These basins were formed during the early bombardment phase of lunar history, have been filled to varying degrees by mare lavas and regional ejecta blankets, and have been degraded by the superposition of large impact craters. The Mendel-Rydberg Basin, a degraded three-ring feature over 600 kilometers in diameter on the lunar western limb, is about 6 kilometers deep from rim to floor, only slightly less deep than the nearby younger and much better preserved Orientale Basin (8 kilometers deep). The South Pole-Aitken Basin, the oldest discernible impact feature on the moon, is revealed as a basin 2500 kilometers in diameter with an average depth of more than 13 kilometers, rim crest to floor. This feature is the largest, deepest impact crater yet discovered in the solar system. Several additional depressions seen in the data may represent previously unmapped ancient impact basins.

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