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Montes Alpes

The Alps, Mountain Range on the Moon

Named for the European Alps on Earth, the lunar Alps form a roughly triangular patch of highlands in the northern hemisphere of the Moon. They form the southern edge of Mare Frigoris, the far northern Sea of Cold, and run southwards and westwards to the northeastern shores of Mare Imbrium, the Sea of Rains. The large and prominent crater Plato lies to the west of these mountains, and their southern extent is marked by the smaller crater known as Cassini.

In the northwestern part of the range, the peaks of the Montes Alpes are widely scattered, generally rising to a height of 2,000m or more. In the southern parts, the mountains form a chain running towards Cassini along the fringes of Mare Imbrium. At the northern end of this chain is Mons Blanc, the highest of the lunar Alps, which towers over its fellow mountains at a height of some 3,600m. From there, the Alps run southward and eastward until they come to an end in a distinct point, designated Promontorium Agassiz (or Cape Agassiz).

The Montes Alpes are divided into two by the rift valley of Vallis Alpes, the Alpine Valley, connecting Mare Frigoris and Mare Imbrium in an almost straight line running northwest-to-southeast directly through the peaks of the Alps. This smooth-floored valley runs for a distance of 166km, and is marked by a narrow, jagged rille that runs centrally along its length from one end of the valley to the other.


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