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Ghost Craters in the Sky

Is the Man in the Moon Telling us Something?

A review of Dr. Danny Faulkner’s presentation on this subject
at the Origins 98 Conference at Bryan College.

by Helen Fryman

© 1998 Creation Research Society.  All Rights Reserved.
This article first appeared in the January/February 1999 issue of
Creation Matters, a newsletter published by the Creation Research Society.

I s the man in the moon telling us something?  For millennia people have looked up at the moon and seen faces and animal shapes in the light and dark areas.  From the time of Galileo on, however, there have been those who have taken a closer and more analytical look at our satellite.  Galileo himself noticed that the dark areas seemed smooth, while the light areas were not.  And so he named the dark areas “maria” (or “seas.”  Today these large, nearly circular dark areas are still called by the old names: Mare Imbrium (Sea of Rains), Mare Serenitatis (Sea of Serenity), Mare Tranquilitatis (Sea of Tranquility), and the like.  Although these maria, or seas, are dry, if there were liquid water on the surface of the moon, it would run down into these areas, for these are lowlands.

The rest of the moon is pockmarked with craters from innumerable impacts.  These are the lunar highlands.  Although there are a few recognized volcanically caused craters, the vast majority of the craters on the moon have been identified as impact craters.  The lighter, higher areas of the moon are saturated with these craters, to the extent that any new impact will erase all or parts of others.  There is no place left on the moon's highlands for any meteorite to hit an unmarked surface. But it is different in the maria.[1]  There are not many craters there.  Where there are craters, they are sharp and distinct and isolated.  Except for some strange formations called “ghost craters.”  These are half-buried craters which still show the circle outline of parts of the crater rim and perhaps some extrusions like small bits of mountains.  Dr. Danny Faulkner, astronomer, thinks there is a story here that has been largely ignored since the Apollo landing.

The highlands of the moon, the light pockmarked areas, are granite.  The maria, however, are much denser, darker basalt.  Thus the color difference.  The highlands have no standard shape, but the maria do.[2]  They are basically round, although some overlap.  There are no ghost craters in the highlands.  They are exclusive to the dark maria.  What are those ghost craters?  Is there a story there we are missing?

In the evolutionary scenario, the moon was formed about 4.5 billion years ago.  It was molten and gradually cooled, from the outside in, forming a crust that was thin at first then gradually got thicker and thicker as the moon cooled more and more.  During this time the moon was subjected to the impacts that caused the cratering we see in the lighter colored highlands.  Only at that time, the cratering was across the entire surface of the moon, until the entire surface was probably saturated.  Then, around 4 to 3½ billion years ago, according to evolution, there were some major impacts-much larger than those which cratered the rest of the moon.  These impacts were so enormous that they allowed magma from the moon's still molten interior to flow up and cover the impact basins, thus resulting in the dark maria.[3]  In the evolutionary timescale, the time between the major impacts and the magma overflow is considered to be about a half a billion years.  Since then, some other impacts have caused the sharp, clear craters we see in the maria today.

Dr. Faulkner challenges the evolution picture on two specific counts here.  But, first of all, he does not challenge the order of events.  That the moon was initially pockmarked and THEN subjected to some giant impacts which cracked the surface enough to allow magma to flow up and cover the crater floors is not an issue.  Nor is it an issue that the sharp craters seen in the maria are the most recent in this chain of events.  Where Dr. Faulkner takes issue, however, is in the timing between the large impacts and the magma overflow, and in the presence of the ghost craters themselves.[4]  First of all, he asks, how long would it take between the giant impacts and the extrusion of the magma onto the moon's surface?  Hours?  Days?  Maybe, at the outside, a few years?  Certainly not half a billion years, though.  The time frame here must be collapsed to be real.

And then there are the ghost craters themselves.  The large impacts would have wiped out any and all craters they hit.  So the ghost craters could not be remnants of craters from before those impacts.  If the impacts that left the ghost craters occurred after the magma overflow had solidified, then they would be as sharp and clear as the other craters in the maria.  But they are called ghost craters precisely because they are NOT sharp and clear, but are simply remnants.  So they had to have been formed between the time of the giant impacts and the time the magma rose to the surface of the moon and overflowed, partially erasing those craters.  This gives us a more interesting scenario regarding the time frame of the moon's history.  The large impacts, which caused the maria, and then the smaller impacts which were to become the ghost craters, and then the magma overflow all had to happen within a fairly short timespan.  The time from start to finish here could have been anywhere from a matter of hours to just a few years, but it is hard to imagine it taking longer than that, simply because it is acknowledged by astronomers of all philosophical persuasions that the giant impacts were the direct cause of the magma overflow.

In short, the impact rate must have been huge.  The long times demanded by evolutionists are not only not needed here, but are contraindicated by the evidence of the ghost craters and the magma itself.  It may be that the man in the moon is, indeed, trying to tell us something.


[1] For a color enhanced photo of the moon, showing the maria quite distinctly see http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap980107.html   [RETURN TO TEXT]

[2] For a good photograph of the moon up close, see http://www.soest.hawaii.edu/SPACEGRANT/class_acts/WebImg/globe-a'.gif   [RETURN TO TEXT]

[3] A simple diagram of this process may be found here: http://zebu.uoregon.edu/~soper/Moon/history.html — please note that there is no mention of the formation of ghost craters.   [RETURN TO TEXT]

[4] Some good ghost craters can be found here, on the right half of this photo of Mare Humorum. Compare them to the much more sharply defined craters elsewhere in the photo: http://www.lpi.usra.edu/expmoon/orbiter/4lo143m.gif   [RETURN TO TEXT]

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