Secondary Crater

  • Henrik HargitaiEmail author
Living reference work entry


Secondary craters are shallow and elongate impact craters formed by fragments ejected by a hypervelocity impact that formed a larger (primary) impact crater.



Their shape is elongate or irregular. Secondary craters are shallower than primary ones. Adjacent secondaries tend to be more shallow than distant secondaries (Bierhaus and Schenk 2010). They often have a V-shaped ridge (“Herringbone Pattern”) that points toward the parent crater. This V-shaped ejecta gives them a splashed appearance. Coalesced secondary craters form a zone beyond the continuous ejecta blanket (“Secondary Crater Field”). The size of secondary craters becomes larger with increasing primary crater size. Secondary craters are also found beyond the edge of layered ejecta morphology of layered ejecta craters on Mars (“Combination Ejecta”).


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    Adjacent secondary: they typically form a...


Impact Crater Small Crater Lunar Crater Secondary Fragment Secondary Crater 
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Planetary Science Research GroupEötvös Loránd University, Institute of Geography and Earth SciencesBudapestHungary