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A schematic model of crater modification by gravityThe morphology of craters found on planets and moons of the solar system is examined and a development model which can account for the observed crater characteristics is discussed. The prompt collapse of craters to form flat floors, terraced walls, and central peak structures is considered to be the result of an approximate Bingham plastic rheology of the material surrounding the crater. This rheology is induced dynamically by the strong incoherent acoustic 'noise' accompanying excavation of the crater. Central pits, peak rings, and other multiple symmetric-profile rings originate by oscillation of this fluid. Large craters with transient depths comparable to the lithosphere thickness are subject to collapse by fragmentation of the lithosphere as well as fluidization. The considered concepts are developed mathematically. A model emerges which appears capable of explaining most of the qualitative features of large impact structures.
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
Melosh, H. J.
(New York, State University Stony Brook, NY, United States)
Date Acquired
August 10, 2013
Publication Date
January 10, 1982
Publication Information
Publication: Journal of Geophysical Research
Volume: 87
Subject Category
Lunar And Planetary Exploration
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