Geologic Processes on the Moon

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610px-Footprint.gif This article is based upon "Geologic Processes on the Moon"
Written and released by
Eric Douglass.

"Geologic Processes on the Moon" was originally published in "Selenology," the quarterly journal of the American Lunar Society by former society president Eric Douglass. Mr. Douglass has courteously released his essay for use on Lunarpedia, and it is featured here in three parts.


This paper deals with the major processes that formed the features we see on the moon. These geologic processes are: the formation of craters, volcanic activity, and tectonic activity. Each of these will be dealt with in their respective sections below.

  • Cratering on the Moon - In the first installation of this article, we discussed the process of crater formation on the moon. Here we examined both the physical processes involved and the end products
  • Tectonic Processes - Tectonism refers to those forces that form and deform the lunar surface. Within we will examine the nature and history of these various forces, along with the lunar features caused by each.
  • Volcanism - This installment focuses on lunar volcanism, covering lunar volcanoes, lunar lava, and the various formations produced by each.


In the end, we find that the moon’s surface was formed through a diverse set of processes. While these are not as complex as the geologic forces on earth (the moon lacks plate tectonics, hydrological and aeolian forces, as well as a significant geochemical cycle), it is still a fascinating world. And precisely because it lacks this extra complexity, it allows us to study these simpler processes in isolation. While it might seem that we understand everything about the moon, let me remind the reader that there are still many mysteries about the moon that are unsolved, and that the simplified scheme presented here is bound to be exactly that—too simple! May we one day return to the moon and learn more about our daughter world.

Articles in this Series