On the depths and shapes of the freshest kilometer-scale simple craters on the lunar maria: A new crater shape model

J. E. CHAPPELOW
Meteoritics & Planetary Science (in Press) Link to Article [DOI: 10.1111/maps.12853]
Meteorifics Inc., 1148 Sundance Loop, Fairbanks, Alaska 99709, USA
Published by Arrangement with John Wiley & Sons

Recent work on the shapes of small, simple impact craters on the Moon has shown that the parabolic ideal does not well represent the vast majority of these craters. They are hyperbolic in shape and usually resemble a cone more than a parabola. A parabolic shape also does not fit the most commonly held archetype for simple craters in general (Linné), which is also hyperbolic. In addition, Linné itself may not be the best model for fresh simple craters, in terms of cross-sectional shape, although shape data to compare it to have heretofore been lacking. Here, the “free shadowfront method” for determining the shapes of simple craters is used to measure 64 fresh simple craters on five lunar maria to test both assumptions. Laser altimetry cross sections, available for many of the craters measured herein, are used to complement and spot-check the shadow measurement results, and thereby demonstrate the efficacy of the free shadowfront method. A new shape model is established, and two craters that better fit this model than Linné are identified. These are located at 24.45° N/328.12° E and 31.35° N/296.46° E and have diameters of 1.40 and 2.73 km, respectively. An apparent dichotomy between fresh simple craters smaller than 2.5 km and those larger than this is observed. Flat floors are found to be ubiquitous among the larger craters, but rare and small in extent in smaller ones. A slide in one crater which appears to be an incipient flat floor suggests a major mode of formation for these flat floors.

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