Encyclopedia of Scientific Dating Methods

Living Edition
| Editors: W. Jack Rink, Jeroen Thompson

Category B: Planetary Surfaces (Cratering Rate)

  • Stephanie C. Werner
  • Wolf Uwe Reimold
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-6326-5_167-1



Planetary surface: Interface between the solid (or liquid) material of a planet and either its atmosphere or the outer space. Actual planetary surfaces are found only on solid planetary bodies, such as the terrestrial planets, moons, or planetesimals.

Cratering rate: The rate at which craters of a given size form per time interval and surface unit.


Planetary surfaces carry the imprint of geological evolution of the specific planetary body and, when dated, allow estimates of the timing and rates of geological processes. Establishment of the geological evolutionary history (chronostratigraphy) of solid-surface planetary bodies is based on the most common surface-modifying geological process, impact cratering. The crater density indicates a relative sequence of events, and when calibrated by radiometric dating of returned samples (e.g., Apollo samples from the Moon), crater density-based relative...


Lunar Surface Planetary System Planetary Surface Planetary Body Crater Size 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Earth Evolution and DynamicsUniversity of OsloOsloNorway
  2. 2.Museum für NaturkundeBerlin and Humboldt-Universität zuBerlinGermany