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08A_MoonTwo - GEL36 SOLAR SYSTEM Lecture 8A Impact Craters...

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1 GEL36 SOLAR SYSTEM Lecture 8A: “Impact Craters & the Moon” (Ch. 21) Goal of the Lecture: Meteorite impact craters are very common features of the terrestrial planets, asteroids, and moons of the Jovian planets. We’ll use the Earth’s moon to illustrate impact processes then take it a step further to discuss the origin and history of the moon. For suggestions on how to view the moon with binoculars, goto http://www.ehow.com/how_2050325_view-moon-binoculars.html Visit the lunar surface using Google Moon – http://www.google.com/moon/ Impact craters Craters form at a variety of scales. From huge bowls to tiny “zap pits” formed by micrometeorites. Typically the crater is roughly 10 times the diameter of the impacting meteorite, and the depth of the crater is about a tenth of the width. Meteorites strike the surface of planets and moons without dense atmospheres at rates of 15-60 km/sec (30,000 to 130,000 mph) , a rate that is termed hypervelocity . - at hypervelocities, upon impact, rock is compressed to such an extent that it forms a dense wall of pressure that moves through the rock at tremendous speeds - called a shock wave
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