Estimating Transient Crater Size Using the Crustal Annular Bulge: Insights from Numerical Modeling of Lunar Basin-scale Impacts

Ross W.K. Potter and David A. Kring (Lunar and Planetary Institute)
Gareth S. Collins (Imperial College)
Walter S. Kiefer and Patrick J. McGovern (Lunar and Planetary Institute)

Geophys. Res. Lett. 39, L18203, doi:10.1029/2012GL052981, 2012

Abstract: The transient crater is an important impact cratering concept. Its volume and diameter can be used to predict impact energy and momentum, impact melt volume, and maximum depth and volume of ejected material. Transient crater sizes are often estimated using scaling laws based on final crater rim diameters. However, crater rim estimates, especially for lunar basins, can be controversial. Here, we use numerical modeling of lunar basin-scale impacts to produce a new, alternative method for estimating transient crater radius using the annular bulge of crust observed beneath most lunar basins. Using target thermal conditions appropriate for the lunar Imbrian and Nectarian periods, we find this relationship to be dependent on lunar crust and upper mantle temperatures. This result is potentially important when analyzing lunar basin subsurface structures inferred from the GRAIL mission.

Text of paper (on AGU website)

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Walter S. Kiefer,