Experimental impact cratering: A summary of the major results of the MEMIN research unit

1Thomas Kenkmann et al. (>10)
Meteoritics & Planetary Science (in Press) Link to Article [DOI: 10.1111/maps.13048]
1Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, Institut für Geo-und Umweltnaturwissenschaften, Freiburg, Germany
Published by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons

This paper reviews major findings of the Multidisciplinary Experimental and Modeling Impact Crater Research Network (MEMIN). MEMIN is a consortium, funded from 2009 till 2017 by the German Research Foundation, and is aimed at investigating impact cratering processes by experimental and modeling approaches. The vision of this network has been to comprehensively quantify impact processes by conducting a strictly controlled experimental campaign at the laboratory scale, together with a multidisciplinary analytical approach. Central to MEMIN has been the use of powerful two-stage light-gas accelerators capable of producing impact craters in the decimeter size range in solid rocks that allowed detailed spatial analyses of petrophysical, structural, and geochemical changes in target rocks and ejecta. In addition, explosive setups, membrane-driven diamond anvil cells, as well as laser irradiation and split Hopkinson pressure bar technologies have been used to study the response of minerals and rocks to shock and dynamic loading as well as high-temperature conditions. We used Seeberger sandstone, Taunus quartzite, Carrara marble, and Weibern tuff as major target rock types. In concert with the experiments we conducted mesoscale numerical simulations of shock wave propagation in heterogeneous rocks resolving the complex response of grains and pores to compressive, shear, and tensile loading and macroscale modeling of crater formation and fracturing. Major results comprise (1) projectile–target interaction, (2) various aspects of shock metamorphism with special focus on low shock pressures and effects of target porosity and water saturation, (3) crater morphologies and cratering efficiencies in various nonporous and porous lithologies, (4) in situ target damage, (5) ejecta dynamics, and (6) geophysical survey of experimental craters.


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