The moon

, Volume 9, Issue 3–4, pp 415–455 | Cite as

Laboratory simulation of the herringbone pattern associated with lunar secondary crater chains

  • V. R. Oberbeck
  • R. H. Morrison


V-shaped ridge components of the herringbone pattern associated with lunar secondary crater chains have been simulated by simultaneous and nearly simultaneous impact of two projectiles near one another. The impact velocities and angles of the projectiles were similar to those of the fragments that produced secondary craters found at various ranges from large lunar craters.

Variables found to affect the included angles of the V-shaped ridges are: relative time of impact of the projectiles, impact angle, relative projectile mass, and azimuth angle of the crater chain relative to the projection of the flight line onto the target surface. The functional relationships between the forms of the ridges and many of these variables are similar to those observed for lunar V-shaped ridges.

Comparison of the magnitudes of the ridge angles of both laboratory crater pairs and secondary crater chains of the crater Copernicus implies that material was ejected from Copernicus at angles in excess of 60°, measured from the normal, to form many of Copernicus' satellitic craters. Moreover, other independent calculations presented indicate that many of the fragments that produced secondary craters also ricocheted to produce tertiary craters.

Application of the study to identification of isolated secondary craters and to the determination of the origin of large lunar craters is discussed.


Azimuth Impact Velocity Relative Time Target Surface Azimuth Angle 
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Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company 1974

Authors and Affiliations

  • V. R. Oberbeck
    • 1
  • R. H. Morrison
    • 1
  1. 1.National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Ames Research CenterSpace Science DivisionMoffett FieldUSA

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