Impact Melt Flow

  • Julie D. StoparEmail author
Living reference work entry


An impact melt flow is a solidified accumulation of impact-generated melt that, while molten, coalesces and flows downslope, creating a landform with lobate distal margins.



Impact melt flows are characterized by their lobate margins and, often, a centralized, leveed channel (Fig. 1; Howard and Wilshire 1975; Hawke and Head 1977; Bray et al. 2010; Denevi et al. 2012). Melt flows exhibit an array of morphologies, ranging from broad and veneer-like to narrow and fingerlike (Bray et al. 2010; Denevi et al. 2012; Neish et al. 2014). Flows interact with fragmental impact debris, and while generally free of fragmental materials, unmelted blocks are not uncommon (Fig. 2). In addition to impact melt flows associated with the ejecta blanket, small localized flows form on interior crater walls. Flows of melt inside a crater are often associated with erosive channels (Fig. 3; Bray et al. 2010).


Lava Flow Flow Morphology Crater Wall Crater Diameter Crater Cavity 
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Earth and Space ExplorationArizona State UniversityTempeUSA