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(pl. maria)

The Latin word for ‘sea’, originally used by Galileo in 1610 to denote the smooth, grey areas on the Moon, visible to the naked eye, that are now known to be plains of basaltic lava filling circular basins excavated by planetismal impact. Basalt lavas, mainly in maria, cover 17% of the surface of the Moon, mostly on the near side. The term is also applied to low-lying areas on Mars.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics — Earth Sciences and Geography.

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