Small impact craters in the lunar regolith — Their morphologies, relative ages, and rates of formation
Rent the article at a discountRent now
* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.Get Access
Apparently, there are two types of size-frequency distributions of small lunar craters (≃1–100 m across): (1) crater production distributions for which the cumulative frequency of craters is an inverse function of diameter to power near 2.8, and (2) steady-state distributions for which the cumulative frequency of craters is inversely proportional to the square of their diameters. According to theory, cumulative frequencies of craters in each morphologic category within the steady-state should also be an inverse function of the square of their diameters. Some data on frequency distribution of craters by morphologic types are approximately consistent with theory, whereas other data are inconsistent with theory.
A flux of crater producing objects can be inferred from size-frequency distributions of small craters on the flanks and ejecta of craters of known age. Crater frequency distributions and data on the craters Tycho, North Ray, Cone, and South Ray, when compared with the flux of objects measured by the Apollo Passive Seismometer, suggest that the flux of objects has been relatively constant over the last 100 m.y. (within 1/3 to 3 times of the flux estimated for Tycho).
Steady-state frequency distributions for craters in several morphologic categories formed the basis for estimating the relative ages of craters and surfaces in a system used during the Apollo landing site mapping program of the U.S. Geological Survey. The relative ages in this system are converted to model absolute ages that have a rather broad range of values. The range of values of the absolute ages are between about 1/3 to 3 times the assigned model absolute age.
- Boyce, J. M., Dial, A. L., and Soderblom, L. A.: 1974, ‘Ages of the lunar nearside light plains and maria’,Proc. 5th Lunar Sci. Conf., Suppl. 5, Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta,1, 11–23.
- Chapman, C. R.: 1968, ‘Interpretation of diameter-frequency relation for lunar craters photographed by Rangers VII, VIII, and IX’,Icarus 8, 1–22.
- Crozaz, G., Drozd, R. K., Hohenberg, C. M., Morgan, C. J., Ralston, C. E., Walker, R., and Yuhas, D.: 1974, ‘Lunar surface dynamics: Some general conclusions and new results from Apollo 16 and 17’,Proc. 5th Lunar Sci. Conf., Suppl. 5, Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 3, 2475–2499.
- Drozd, R. K., Hohenberg, C. M., Morgan, C. J., and Ralston, C. E.: 1974, ‘Cosmic-ray exposure history at the Apollo 16 and other lunar sites: lunar surface dynamics’,Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 38, 1625–1642.
- Duennebier, F., Dorman, J., Lammlein, D., Latham, G., and Nakumura, Y.: 1975, ‘Meteoroid flux from passive seismic experiment data’,Proc. Sixth Lunar Sci. Conf., Suppl. 6, Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 2, 2417–2426.
- Gault, D. E.: 1970, ‘Saturation and equilibrium conditions for impact cratering on the lunar surface: criteria and implications’,Radio Science 5, 273–291.
- Gilbert, G. K.: 1893, ‘The Moon's face: a study of the origin of its features’,Philosophical Soc. of Washington, Bull. VII 241–292.
- Goswami, J. N. and Lal, D.: 1974, ‘Cosmic ray irradiation pattern at the Apollo 17 site: implications to lunar regolith dynamics’,Proc. 5th Lunar Sci. Conf., Suppl. 5, Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 3, 2643–2662.
- Guinness, E. A. and Arvidson, R. E.: 1977, ‘On the constancy of the lunar cratering flux over the past 3.3×109 yr’,Proc. 8th Lunar Sci. Conf. Suppl. 8, Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 3475–3494.
- Hodges, C. A., Muehlberger, W. R., and Ulrich, G. E.: 1973, ‘Geologic settling of Apollo 16’,Proc. 4th Lunar Sci. Conf., Suppl. 4, Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 1, 1025.
- Langley Research Center: 1967a, ‘Preliminary geologic evaluation and Apollo landing analysis of areas photographed by Lunar Orbiter II’, Langley Research Center Working Paper, LWP-363.
- Langley Research Center: 1967b, ‘Preliminary geologic evaluation and Apollo landing analysis of areas photographed by Lunar Orbiter III’ Langley Research Center Working Paper, LWP-407.
- Marcus, A. H.: 1970, ‘Comparison of equilibrium size distributions for lunar craters’,J. Geophys. Research 75, 4977–4984.
- Marti, K., Lightner, B. D., and Osborn, T. W.: 1973, Krypton and Xenon in some lunar samples and the age of North Ray crater,Proc. 4th Lunar Sci. Conf., Suppl. 4, Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 2, 2037–2048.
- Moore, H. J.: 1964, ‘Density of small craters on the lunar surface’, inAstrogeologic Studies Ann. Prog. Report, Aug. 24, 1962–July 1, 1963, pt. D, U.S. Geol. Survey open-file report, pp. 34–51.
- Moore, H. J.: 1971. ‘Geologic interpretation of lunar data’,Earth-Science Review 7, 5–33.
- Moore, H. J., Lugn, R. V., and Newman, E. B.: 1974, ‘Some morphometric properties of experimentally cratered surfaces’,U. S. Geol. Survey Jour. Research 2, 279–388.
- Morrison, D. A., McKay, D. S., Fruland, R. M., and Moore, H. J.: 1973, ‘Microcraters on Apollo 15 and 16 rocks’,Proc. 4th Lunar Sci. Conf., Suppl. 4, Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 3 3235–3253.
- National Aeronautics and Space Administration: 1966, ‘Ranger IX photographs of the Moon’, NASA Spec. Publ. SP-112, 17 pp., 170 plates.
- National Aeronautics and Space Administration: 1978, ‘Standard techniques for presentation and analysis of crater size—frequency data’, NASA Tech. Memo. 79730, 20 pp.
- Neukum, Gerhard: 1977, ‘Different ages of lunar light plains’,The Moon 17, 383–393.
- Neukum, G., Konig, B., and Arkani-Hamed, J.: 1975, ‘A study of lunar impact crater size-distributions’The Moon 12, 201–229.
- Quaide, W. L. and Oberbeck, V. R.: 1968, ‘Thickness determinations of the lunar surface layer from lunar impact craters’,Jour. Geophys. Res. 73, 5247–5270.
- Shoemaker, E. M.: 1965, ‘Preliminary analysis of the lunar surface in Mare Cognitum’, inRanger VII part II, Experimenter's Analyses and Interpretations, Calif. Inst. Tech., Jet Propulsion Lab. Tech. Rept. 32-700, pp. 75–134.
- Shoemaker, E. M., Morris, E. C., Batson, R. M., Holt, H. E., Larson, K. B., Montgomery, D. R., Rennilson, J. J. and Whitaker, E. A.: 1969, ‘Television observations from Surveyor’, inSurveyor Program Results, Natl. Aeronautics and Space Admin. Spec. Publ. NASA SP-184, 19–128.
- Silver, L.: 1971, ‘U—Th—Pb isotope systems in Apollo 11 and 12 regolithic materials and a possible Copernicus impact event’,EOS, Trans. Amer. Geophys. Union 52, p. 534.
- Soderblom, L. A.: 1970, ‘A model for small-impact erosion applied to the lunar surface’,Jour. Geo Phys. Research 75, 2655–2661.
- Soderblom, L. A. and Lebofsky, L. A.: 1972, ‘Technique for rapid determination of relative ages of lunar areas from orbital photography’,Jour. Geophys. Research 77, 279–296.
- Swann, G. A. and Reed, V. S.: 1974, ‘A method for estimating the absolute ages of small Copernican craters and its application to the determination of Copernican meteorite flux’,Proc. 5th lunar Sci. Conf., Suppl. 5, Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 1, 151–158.
- Trask, N. J.: 1966, ‘Size and spatial distribution of craters estimated from the Ranger photographs’, InRanger VIII and IX, part II, Experimenters' analyses and interpretations, Calif. Inst. Tech., Jet Propulsion Lab. Tech. Rept. 32-800, pp. 252–264.
- Trask, N. J.: 1967, ‘Distribution of lunar craters according to morphology from Ranger VIII and IX photographs’,Icarus 6, 270–276.
- Trask, N. J.: 1971, ‘Geologic comparison of mare materials in the lunar equatorial belt, including Apollo 11 and Apollo 12 landing sites’,Geological Survey Research 1971, Chapter D, U.S. Geol. Survey Prof. Paper 750-D, p. D-138–D-144.
- Whitaker, E. A.: 1972, ‘Artificial lunar impact craters: four new identifications’,Apollo 16 Prelim. Sci. Rept., Part I, Natl. Aeron. and Space Adm., NASA SP-315, pp. 29(39)–29(44).
- Small impact craters in the lunar regolith — Their morphologies, relative ages, and rates of formation
The moon and the planets
Volume 23, Issue 2 , pp 231-252
- Cover Date
- Print ISSN
- Online ISSN
- Kluwer Academic Publishers
- Additional Links