Crater Chain (Impact, Primary)
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.
(Impact) crater row; Individual craters in a chain: catena craters; Linear crater chain
Linear crater chains consist of strings of closely spaced roughly similar-sized aligned craters.
(1) Linear; (2) doublet crater, if a “row” consists of two craters.
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...
- 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
- Schenk PM (n.d.) Catena on Ganymede. http://www.lpi.usra.edu/science/schenk/chain.html