Encyclopedia of Planetary Landforms

2015 Edition
| Editors: Henrik Hargitai, Ákos Kereszturi


  • David M. H. BakerEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-3134-3_427


Complex craters (or “basins”) which exhibit a rim crest and both an interior central peak and internal ring of massifs (peak ring) (Baker et al. 2011a).


A transitional type between  complex craters and  peak-ring structures.



A protobasin is a transitional impact structure type between central peak crater and peak-ring basin, exhibiting characteristic features of both. It possesses both a central peak and an interior ring of peaks. Both of these features are generally smaller in diameter and have less topographic relief than either central peaks in complex craters and peak rings in peak-ring basins (Pike 1988).


Observed minimum/maximum diameters in the inner solar system are 137/170 km (Moon), 75/172 km (Mercury), 64/153 (Mars), and 53/70 km (Venus) (Baker et al. 2011b). Ring/rim crest ratios range from 0.33 to 0.44 on Mercury (Baker et al. 2011b).


A relative reduction in central peak...

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  1. Baker DMH, Head JW, Fassett CI, Kadish SJ, Smith DE, Zuber MT, Neumann GA (2011a) The transition from complex crater to peak-ring basin on the Moon: new observations from the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) instrument. Icarus 214:377–393CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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  6. Pike RJ (1988) Geomorphology of impact craters on Mercury. In: Vilas F, Chapman CR, Matthews MS (eds) Mercury. University Arizona Press, Tucson, pp 165–273Google Scholar
  7. Wood CA, Tam W (1993) Morphologic classes of impact basins on Venus. Lunar Planet Sci Conf XXIV:1535–1536, HoustonGoogle Scholar

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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Geological SciencesBrown UniversityProvidenceUSA