Vallis Alpes

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Lunar Orbiter 4 image of Vallis Alpes

Vallis Alpes (latin for"Alpine Valley") is a lunar valley feature that bisects the Montes Alpes range. It extends 166 km from the Mare Imbrium basin, trending east-northeast to the edge of the Mare Frigoris. The valley is narrow at both ends and widens to a maximum width of about 10 km along the middle stretch. The selenographic coordinates of this feature are 48°30′N 3°12′E / 48.5°N 3.2°E / 48.5; 3.2.

The valley floor is a flat, lava-flooded surface that is bisected by a slender, cleft-like rille. (This cleft is a challenging target for telescope observation from the Earth.) The sides of the valley rise from the floor to the surrounding highland terrain, a blocky, irregular surface. The southern face of the valley is straighter than the northern side, which is slightly bowed and uneven. The more rugged edges of the valley lie at the narrow west-southwest end that cuts through the mountain range. Most likely this valley is a graben that was subsequently flooded with magma from Mare Imbrium and Mare Frigoris.[1]

This valley was discovered in 1727 by Francesco Bianchini.


  1. ^ Legault, Thierry; Serge Brunier (2006). New Atlas of the Moon. Firefly Books. p. 85. ISBN 978-1-55407-173-9.