Living reference work entry

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A circular depression (IAU Gazetteer 2011) or a circular or subcircular depression generally bounded by a raised rim (Whitaker and Andersson 1982).


  1. (1)
    Explosive crater
    1. (1.1)

      Primary impact structure produced by shock waves resulting from a hypervelocity impact. The term “crater” usually refers to smaller (approx. <300 km on the Moon) impact craters (simple crater, complex crater); larger craters, usually with inner and external rings are termed basins.

    2. (1.2)

      Secondary impact crater (secondary crater).

    3. (1.3)

      Volcanic crater (caldera [explosive], pit crater, crater of a composite volcano).

  2. (2)
    Nonexplosive “crater” (only informally called craters)
    1. (2.1)

      Collapsed tumulus

    2. (2.2)

      Collapsed pingo

    3. (2.3)

      Collapse caldera

    4. (2.4)
      Pit: rimless depression of any origin
      1. (2.4.1)

        Pit crater: generally refers to volcanic, magmatic, or tectonic pits

      2. (2.4.2)

        Penetration pit: the depression produced without shock waves by a low-velocity impact

      3. (2.4.3)



Shock Wave Impact Crater Collapse Caldera Hypervelocity Impact Volcanic Crater 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.
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  1. Greeley R, Gault DRE (1979) Endogenic craters on basaltic lava flows: size frequency distribution. Lunar Planet Sci Conf 10:2919–2933Google Scholar
  2. IAU (1962) Commission Pour L’etude Physique des Planetes et des Satellites In: Sadler DH (Ed) Proceedings of the eleventh general assembly (Berkeley 1961) transactions of the IAU, vol XIB. Academic, LondonGoogle Scholar
  3. IAU Gazetteer (2011) Gazetter of planetary nomenclature. International Astronomical Union (IAU) Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature (WGPSN)
  4. Whitaker EA, Andersson LE (1982) NASA catalogue of Lunar nomenclature. NASA Reference Publication 1097Google Scholar

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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Planetary Science Research GroupEötvös Loránd University, Institute of Geography and Earth SciencesBudapestHungary