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Category B: Planetary Surfaces (Cratering Rate)

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Encyclopedia of Scientific Dating Methods


Bombardment history; Cratering statistics; Projectile flux


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...

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Werner, S.C., Reimold, W.U. (2013). Category B: Planetary Surfaces (Cratering Rate). In: Rink, W., Thompson, J. (eds) Encyclopedia of Scientific Dating Methods. Springer, Dordrecht.

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