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The development of central peaks in lunar craters

Abstract

From a consideration of equations describing the supersonic impact of a solid body on to a solid target, the difference between final crater depth and distance vertically below the original impact at which the rarefaction wave front, resulting from the reflection of the backward propagating shock wave in the meteorite, first intersects the forward travelling shock wave front in the target has been determined. A correlation between this difference and the height of central peak features in the majority of fresh lunar craters has been established. On the basis of this, it is proposed that the intersection of these two wave fronts locally inhibits the ejection of material from behind the shock front during the excavation phase of crater formation, leading to the appearance of a centrally located peak of uplifted material. Subsequent post-impact development of the interior morphological features has been shown to be consistent with the size-scale of development of complex crater features on the lunar and other planetary surfaces. By considering only craters which exhibit this correlation, a scaling between peak height and impact energy has been derived.

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Bond, J.W. The development of central peaks in lunar craters. The Moon and the Planets 25, 465–476 (1981). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00919080

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Keywords

  • Shock Wave
  • Wave Front
  • Shock Front
  • Rarefaction Wave
  • Central Peak