Living Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Planetary Landforms

pp 1-5

Date: Latest Version

Polygonal Crater

  • Jarmo KorteniemiAffiliated withEarth and Space Physics, Department of Physics, University of Oulu
  • , Teemu ÖhmanAffiliated withArctic Planetary Science Institute Email author 


An impact crater having a polygonal rim shape in plan view.


Polygonal impact crater, angular crater (rare)


A polygonal crater is an impact crater which in plan view is not circular, elliptical, or irregular, but more closely resembles a regular polygon with straight rim segments and clearly discernible angles between them. Typically only a part of the rim circumference is formed by straight segments. However, no rigorous definition of a polygonal crater exists.


Any size polygonal craters, up to basins, can be found (Kopal 1966; Öhman 2009, Singer and McKinnon 2011), but the majority are found slightly above (1–5×) the transition diameter from simple to complex craters (Pohn and Offield 1970; Öhman 2009). Most often polygonal craters display a partial hexagonal (six-sided) form, often with two to four distinctly straight rim segments (Fig. 1). Polygonal craters may be roughly square-shaped (e.g., Meteor Crater in Arizona) (Kumar and Kring 2008; Poelc ...

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