Transitional Crater (Simple/Complex)

  • Jeffrey B. PlesciaEmail author
Living reference work entry


Crater characterized by relatively smooth walls and a floor partly or completely covered by debris slumped from the crater walls. It is a transitional form between a simple bowl-shaped crater and a complex crater with a central uplift (Cintala et al. 1977; Howard 1974; Young 1977).

Note that infilled simple craters and flat-floored pristine complex craters near the simple-to-complex transition diameter may exhibit similar apparent morphologies and may not be distinguished by photogeologic methods (Robbins and Hynek 2012).



These craters are characterized by extensive slump material at the base of the crater wall that extends across the floor. Figures 1, 2, 3, and 4 illustrate the varying interior morphologies. In some cases (e.g., Dawes, Figs. 1 and 2) the entire crater floor is covered by slump material (termed floor hummocks by Cintala et al. 1976); in other cases a central...
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Johns Hopkins University, Applied Physics LaboratoryLaurelUSA