Encyclopedia of Planetary Landforms

2015 Edition
| Editors: Henrik Hargitai, Ákos Kereszturi

Crater Chain (Impact, Primary)

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-3134-3_73

Definition

A linear crater chain is a regularly spaced row of three or more impact craters (for two craters  doublet crater) with similar sizes and apparently identical ages, formed by the impact of tidally disrupted bodies.

Synonyms

(Impact) crater row; Individual craters in a chain: catena craters;  Linear crater chain

Description

Linear crater chains consist of strings of closely spaced roughly similar-sized aligned craters.

Subtypes

(1) Linear; (2)  doublet crater, if a “row” consists of two craters.

Formation

They likely originate from weak rubble pile asteroids or comets (fragile aggregates of large and small components held together by self-gravity or surface forces rather than material strength) tidally pulled apart during a close approach to a planet, separating into a train of fragments which then impacted a moon rather than escaping to interplanetary space.

Since there are no asteroids in the outer solar system, only comets can be the source of crater chains on giant planet...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access

References

  1. Bottke WF Jr, Richardson DC, Love SG (1997) Can tidal disruption of asteroids make crater chains on the Earth and Moon? Icarus 126:470–474CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Melosh HJ, Schenk P (1993) Split comets and the origin of crater chains on Ganymede and Callisto. Nature 365:731–733CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Melosh HJ, Whitaker EA (1994) Lunar crater chains. Nature 369:713CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Passey QR, Shoemaker EM (1982) Craters and basins on Ganymede and Callisto: morphological indicators of crustal evolution. In: Morrison D (ed) Satellites of Jupiter. University Arizona Press, Tucson, pp 379–432Google Scholar
  5. Schenk PM (n.d.) Catena on Ganymede. http://www.lpi.usra.edu/science/schenk/chain.html
  6. Schenk PM, Asphaug E, McKinnon WB, Melosh HJ, Weissman PR (1996) Cometary nuclei and tidal disruption: the geologic record of crater chains on Callisto and Ganymede. Icarus 121:249–274CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Sekiguchi N (1970) On the fissions of a solid body under influence of tidal force; with application to the problem of twin craters on the moon. Moon 1:429–439CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Wichman RW, Wood CA (1995) The davy crater chain: implications for tidal disruption in the Earth-Moon System and elsewhere. Geophys Res Lett 22(5):583–586. doi:10.1029/94GL02966CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Maryland at College ParkCollege ParkUSA
  2. 2.Lunar and Planetary InstituteHoustonUSA