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Lunar Orbiter data make it possible to examine the distribution and relations of maria and large circular basins over the entire Moon. The restricted distribution and age of the maria are in marked contrast to the apparently random distribution in time and place of the circular basins, some of which contain mare fillings. The circular basins are believed to be impact scars, and the maria to be volcanic fills which in each case are younger than the structures they fill. Twenty-nine circular basins 300 km wide or wider are recognized. They are placed in an age sequence because successive stages of degradation can be recognized from the fresh Orientale basin to the almost obliterated basin containing Mare Australe. The maria were emplaced during a short span of lunar history, although some light plains of the highlands may be older maria lightened through age. The present maria are topographically low, tend to be associated with large circular basins, and lie in a crude global belt of regional concentrations; 94% are on the hemisphere facing the Earth. Possible explanations offered for these patterns of mare distribution include impact-induced volcanism, volcanic extrusion to a hydrostatic level, isostatic compensation, lateral heterogeneity in the lunar interior, subcrustal convection, and volcanism due to disruption by Earth's gravity. ?? 1970.