Mare (Moon)

  • Scott S. Hughes
  • Elizabeth A. Frank
  • Henrik Hargitai
Living reference work entry


A large dark, smooth plain on the Moon formed when basaltic lava flowed into preexisting topographic depressions.




Mare as a geological term describing volcanic plains is used exclusively for the Moon. For the structural depression a mare occupies see basin.


Low-albedo regions on the Moon. Maria may be circular if the flows filled an impact basin without breaching it or irregular in shape if they filled an irregularly shaped depression or breached a basin (e.g., Oceanus Procellarum). On large scales, maria are mostly smooth but lie at different topographic levels, indicating that they are derived from independent eruptions (Smith et al. 1997). Though mare terrains comprise a substantial part of the lunar surface (~16 % to 17 %), most flows are less than 500 m thick, forming only a thin veneer totaling about...


Lunar Surface Basaltic Lava Large Igneous Province Giant Impact Mare Basalt 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Scott S. Hughes
    • 1
  • Elizabeth A. Frank
    • 2
  • Henrik Hargitai
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of GeosciencesIdaho State UniversityPocatelloUSA
  2. 2.Department of Geological SciencesUniversity of ColoradoBoulderUSA
  3. 3.Planetary Science Research GroupInstitute of Geography and Earth Sciences, Eötvös Loránd UniversityBudapestHungary