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Genetic implications of the shapes of martian and lunar craters

January 1, 1971

Craters on Mars and the Moon are alike in that larger craters differ in shape from smaller ones, and older craters differ in shape from younger ones. Smoothed depth-diameter curves for 41 large martian craters photographed by Mariner IV inflect at a crater diameter of 10–20km in a manner similar to curves for lunar craters. Below 10–20km, both depth-diameter curves are linear with a slope of roughly 1.0; above this threshold range, the curves assume a much lower slope. Diminution of lunar crater depth-diameter ratios with age indicates that the shapes of lunar and, by inference, martian craters have changed systematically since formation. Martian craters sampled here are shallower than most pre-Imbrian lunar craters. By analogy with the Moon, martian craters seem both to vary in initial shape according to the energy of the impact that formed them and to have been modified subsequently by endogenic and surface processes. A proposed model for the geologic development of large martian and lunar craters outlines a time- dependent sequence of events. Craters which have undergone rapid isostatic adjustment on the Moon have distinctive morphologies and occur preferentially along mare basin-upland margins.

    Citation Information

    Publication Year 1971
    Title Genetic implications of the shapes of martian and lunar craters
    DOI 10.1016/0019-1035(71)90117-5
    Authors R.J. Pike
    Publication Type Article
    Publication Subtype Journal Article
    Series Title Icarus
    Series Number
    Index ID 70010334
    Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
    USGS Organization