Recent and active surface processes on the Moon

Taurur-Littrow Valley, site of the Apollo 17 mission, hosts record of recent geomorphological landforms and tectonic structures, therefore it represents a unique area for understanding recent geological processes on the Moon. The presence of two recent, overlapping landslide deposits (called «Land Mantle»), and boulder falls suggest that repetitive instability has affected local slopes. The presence of a young lobate scarp associated with a thrust suggests that seismic shaking may have been an important factor in triggering surface changes and mass-wasting events in the area. The Light Mantle, a unique case of a hypermobile landslide on the Moon, represents the only extraterrestrial landslide for which an absolute age is provided (70-110 Myr), thanks to the Apollo returned samples. Therefore, the Light Mantle deposit can be used as geomorphological marker and time constraint for surface changes that occurred since its emplacement.

The talk will have two main focuses: 1) I will present recent results in the study of the hypermobility of the Light Mantle, obtained from friction experiments; and how we will exploit the analysis of the Apolo 17 core sample collected from the landslide deposit, which was kept sealed for almost fifty years and now available as part of the NASA Apollo Next Generation Sample Analysis (ANGSA) program. 2) I will present our recent work on slope deformation processes that post-date the Light Mantle event, which suggests recent, and maybe active, processes on the Moon.

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