In this activity, learners model how the Moon's volcanic period reshaped its earlier features. Learners consider that the broad, shallow impact basins--which had formed earlier while it was a "kid Moon"--contained cracks through which magma seeped up. A plate in which slits have been cut is used to represent an impact basin and a dish of red-colored water is used to represent the pockets of magma within the Moon's upper layers. When the model impact basin is pressed into the magma, "lava" fills in the low areas through the same process that produced the dark patches, or maria, on the Moon. Learners may examine a type of Earth rock (named basalt) that is also found on the Moon and that would have been shaped by the processes explored here. This activity investigates the Moon's "teen years," when it was one to three billion years old.
This activity station is part of a sequence of stations that can be set up to help learners trace the Moon's 4.5-billion-year history from "infancy" to the imagined future. Learners tie together major events in the Moon's geologic history as a series of comic panels in their Marvel Moon comic books.