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Crater morphology; the effects of differential scaling


, : Crater morphology; the effects of differential scaling. Abstracts with Programs - Geological Society of America 32(7): 161

Impact craters are ubiquitous landforms on the surfaces of almost all solid solar system bodies. The Earth=s moon, with its low level of endogenic geologic activity, provides the best record of (near) pristine craters and forms the natural baseline for determining the morphology and morphometry of impact craters. It has been well recognized that, for a given impact event, surface gravity affects the nature of the final crater through its influence on ejection and subsequent modification of the initial transient cavity, created by the cratering flow-field. There is also a secondary effect, which is less well recognized; namely, that the spatial extent of particular shock metamorphic effects can also affect the final crater, through changes in the physical properties of the target rocks. This is not a function of gravity but is controlled, for given impactor and target types, by the physical dimensions of the impactor and impact velocity. Relatively small, low velocity impacts in low surface gravity (e.g., asteroidal-asteroidal impacts) will produce craters with the minimal changes in target rock properties due to shock. Conversely, very large, high speed impacts in high surface gravity (e.g., basin-forming impacts on the early Earth) will produce craters, which can be severely affected by changes in target rock properties due to shock. The equivalent of basin-forming impact on the moon would not produce an equivalent morphology on the early Earth.

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