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Geology/Destructive Forces on the Moon


Which of the destructive forces (chemical weathering, physical weathering, erosion, or mass movement) would be most effective and least effective on the moon?

micro meteor impacts
micro meteor impacts  

Chemical weathering would be minimal to non-existent since it in large part depends on water.  There is the chance that cosmic waves, and UV would break down the crystal structure of the minerals over time, which would be chemical weathering at its basest form, but that would be slow.

Erosion would be non-existent due to the lack of water.

Mass movement would occur, but with the moon's week gravity field and low mass it would be slower than on earth.  Mass movement is helped along by the actions of wind and water so the absence of those would mean mass movement would be terribly slow.

Physical weathering would be the primary means of altering the surface.  The actions of solar heating would be one factor.  The largest force would be the impact of meteorites both large and small.  Micro meteorites account for most of the "moon dust" that we saw in images of the moon's surface.  The constant shower of these particles would have an erosive effect.  There is a line and I am not sure what it is, between micrometeorites and radiation particles.  

Attached is a  electron micrograph of the surface of an astronaut's helmet and the surface has been gauged with tiny pits from micrometeorite impacts or radiation particles.  It is a cast of the surface of one of the helmets to they are in reverse.  So you can imagine what the impact of the small meteorites does to the surface of rocks over time.

Larger impacts without a doubt alter the moon's surfact in a mechanical or physical way.  


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Keith Patton


I can answer questions concerning physical and historical geology, environmental geology/hydrology, environmental consulting, remote sensing/aerial photo interpretation, G&G computer applications, petroleum exploration, drilling, geochemistry, geochemical and microbiological prospecting, 3D reservoir modeling, computer mapping and drilling.I am not a geophysicist.


I have 24 years experience split between the petroleum and environmental industries. I have served as an expert witness in remote sensing, developmental geologist, exploration geologist, enviromental project manager, and subject matter expert in geology and geophysical software development.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists
American Association of Photogrammetrists and Remote Sensing

Bachelor and Master of Science
Registered Geologist in State of Texas

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