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In the Lunar geologic timescale
The lunar geological timescale divides the history of Earth's Moon into five generally recognized periods: the Copernican, Eratosthenian, Imbrian , Nectarian, and Pre-Nectarian...
, the Late Imbrian
epoch occurred between 3800 million years ago to about 3200 million years ago. It was the epoch
Series are subdivisions of rock layers made based on the age of the rock and corresponding to the dating system unit called an epoch, both being formally defined international conventions of the geological timescale. A series is therefore a sequence of rock depositions defining a...
during which the mantle below the lunar basins partially melted and filled them with basalt
Basalt is a common extrusive volcanic rock. It is usually grey to black and fine-grained due to rapid cooling of lava at the surface of a planet. It may be porphyritic containing larger crystals in a fine matrix, or vesicular, or frothy scoria. Unweathered basalt is black or grey...
. The melting is thought to have occurred because the impacts of the Early Imbrian thinned the overlying rock - either causing the mantle to rise because of the reduced pressure on it, bringing molten material closer to the surface; or the top melting as heat flowed upwards through the mantle because of reduced overlying thermal insulation. The majority of lunar samples returned to earth for study come from this epoch.
The Earth equivalent consists of three-quarters of the Archean
The Archean , also spelled Archeozoic or Archæozoic) is a geologic eon before the Paleoproterozoic Era of the Proterozoic Eon, before 2.5 Ga ago. Instead of being based on stratigraphy, this date is defined chronometrically...