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Online Impact Cratering Lab

Type of Activity:

  • Lab Activity

Brief description of the activity and its strengths:

Introduces the fundamental concepts of impact cratering and basic image processing techniques. Image processing software (ImageJ)is built into the website.



Type and level of course in which you would use this activity:

This laboratory has been successfully used in undergraduate classes for non-science majors and in upper division classes for science majors. The original laboratory exercise (not web-based) is still used in the lab section of the Geology of Solar System course at the University of Arizona.

How the activity is situated in its course

This laboratory can be used as stand alone exercise or as a laboratory to follow-up a discussion on impact cratering in the classroom.


The Impact Cratering Lab exercises found on this website introduce a geologic process that has had major consequences for the geology of all solid bodies in the solar system and for the biology of Earth. It is becoming the focus of interest for scientists in many fields including physics, geology, and biology. The exercises found on this website introduce the fundamental concepts of impact cratering including cratering mechanics, crater morphology, and crater ejecta. These exercises also introduce basic image processing techniques.

An answer key is available from Andy Shaner (LPI) at

Digital Object Identifier

Submitted By:

First Name:Andy
Last Name:Shaner
Institution:Lunar and Planetary Institute