Encyclopedia of Planetary Landforms

2015 Edition
| Editors: Henrik Hargitai, Ákos Kereszturi

Simple Crater

  • Henrik Hargitai
  • Wesley Andres Watters
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-3134-3_348


A simple crater is a bowl-shaped depression produced by an impact.


Simple craters are polygonal to circular bowl-shaped depressions with smooth to ragged raised rims surrounded by a blanket of continuous ejecta. Simple craters range in size from centimeters to tens of kilometers, where the maximum size is inversely related to planetary mass. Simple craters are characterized by a uniformly concave-upward shape with an approximately conical to parabolic interior profile (Figs. 1 and 2). Simple craters can exhibit a bench-like step in the walls or a central mound if formed in a surface with layers of varying strength (  nested crater,  concentric crater (Moon)). Otherwise, they exhibit few other internal topographic features with the exception of slump deposits, debris chutes, gullies, or sporadic boulder trails. The crater may have a central flat floor of crater-fill deposit that originates from mass wasting and eolian or fluvial infilling or ponding of impact melt...
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.NASA Ames Research Center/NPPMoffett FieldUSA
  2. 2.Whitin ObservatoryWellesley CollegeWellesleyUSA