If you ever decide to shoot a vampire movie on the Moon, you'll probably want to head for the Carpathian Mountains. This range of old, low mountains forms the southern border of a plain of volcanic rock known as Mare Imbrium -- the Sea of Showers.
Like all mountain ranges on the Moon, the Carpathians take their name from a mountain range here on Earth. The Earthly Carpathians slice across eastern Europe, through the Romanian province of Transylvania. They were the site of both the fictional "Dracula" and his real-life inspiration, Vlad the Impaler.
While the Carpathians on Earth are fairly young, those on the Moon are quite old. They were formed by the same event that created Mare Imbrium.
Almost four billion years ago, an asteroid as big as a city slammed into the Moon, gouging a crater -- the Imbrium Basin. The Carpathians formed part of the crater's rim. The basin filled with molten lava, which cooled to form the plain known as Mare Imbrium. Many of the mountains around Mare Imbrium are big and rugged. One of the Apollo missions touched down in these mountains. The Carpathians aren't quite as impressive. But they separate Imbrium from another large volcanic plain. And they're near an intriguing region of the Moon that shows signs of more recent volcanic activity. The region suggests that, like vampires, the Moon may not be fully dead.
Script by Damond Benningfield, Copyright 2004, 2007
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