Mountain in a crater! – Tycho

The spectacular peak at the center of young crater on the Moon.

Seen here is the 86-kilometer-wide Tycho crater on the Moon with its central peak.

The 86-kilometer-wide Tycho crater on the Moon and its central peak. Credit: NASA LRO

Tycho was formed about 108 million years ago due to an impact by a large asteroid. You must have seen bright, beautiful rays shooting out of a southern crater on the Moon. That is material ejected during the impact reaching all the way up to 1,500 kilometers!

The crater floor is at a depth of 4.8 kilometers while the central mountain rises 1.6 kilometers above the floor. The mountain is thought to have formed as material rebounded back up after being compressed in the impact.

The 1.6-kilometer-high central peak of Tycho crater. Credit: NASA LRO

Since the crater is only 108 million years old, the dinosaurs probably were witness to this fantastic collision event. Sampling the floor of Tycho crater via future lunar missions is one of the important goals for planetary scientists. Its young age makes it a well-preserved place to study the mechanics of how an impact crater forms.



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