Earth, Moon, and Planets

, Volume 67, Issue 1–3, pp 35–45 | Cite as

Constraints on the Martian cratering rate based on the SNC meteorites and implications for Mars climatic history

  • John E. Brandenburg


Two constraints placed upon the cratering flux at Mars by the SNC meteorites are examined: crystallization ages as a constraint on surface ages and cosmic ray exposure ages and number of impacts as a constraint on absolute rates. The crystallization ages of the SNC meteorites appear to constrain the Martian cratering rate to be 4xLunar or more if the parent lavas are in the north of Mars and the number of SNC ejecting impacts are small. If the SNCs result from a single impact that formed the Lyot basin then the cratering rate must be at least 7xLunar or higher to produce a basin age less than the SNC crystallization age because the basin ages are themselves determined by crater counting. Assuming multiple uncorrelated impacts for SNC ejection from Mars over 10 million years a cratering rate of approximately 4xLunar is also found for ejecting impacts that form craters over 12km in diameter. Therefore, both crystallization ages and ejection ages and number of impacts appear consistent with a 4xLunar cratering rate at Mars. The effect on Martian chronologies of such a high cratering rate is to place the SNC crystallization ages partly within the epoch of channel formation on Mars and to extend this liquid water epoch over much of Mars history.


Crystallization Liquid Water Channel Formation Absolute Rate Climatic History 
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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • John E. Brandenburg
    • 1
  1. 1.Research Support InstrumentsAlexandria

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