Morphology of Lonar Crater, India: Comparisons and implications

The Moon and the Planets

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Lonar Crater is a young meteorite impact crater emplaced in Deccan basalt. Data from 5 drillholes, a gravity network, and field mapping are used to reconstruct its original dimensions, delineate the nature of the pre-impact target rocks, and interpret the emplacement mode of the ejecta. Our estimates of the pre-erosion dimensions are: average diameter of 1710 m; average rim height of 40 m (30-35 m of rim rock uplift, 5-10 m of ejected debris); depth of 230-245 m (from rim crest to crater floor). The crater's circularity index is 0.9 and is unlikely to have been lower in the past. There are minor irregularities in the original crater floor (present sediment-breccia boundary) possibly due to incipient rebound effects. A continuous ejecta blanket extends an average of 1410 m beyond the pre-erosion rim crest. In general, 'fresh' terrestrial craters, less than 10 km in diameter, have smaller depth/diameter and larger rim height/diameter ratios than their lunar counterparts. Both ratios are intermediate for Mercurian craters, suggesting that crater shape is gravity dependent, all else being equal. Lonar demonstrates that all else is not always equal. Its depth/diameter ratio is normal but, because of less rim rock uplift, its rim height/diameter ratio is much smaller than both 'fresh' terrestrial and lunar impact craters. The target rock column at Lonar consists of one or more layers of weathered, soft basalt capped by fresh, dense flows. Plastic deformation and/or compaction of this lower, incompetent material probably absorbed much of the energy normally available in the cratering process for rim rock uplift. A variety of features within the ejecta blanket and the immediately underlying substrate, plus the broad extent of the blanket boundaries, suggest that a fluidized debris surge was the dominant mechanism of ejecta transportation and deposition at Lonar. In these aspects, Lonar should be a good analog for the 'fluidized craters' of Mars. ?? 1980 D. Reidel Publishing Co.

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Morphology of Lonar Crater, India: Comparisons and implications
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The Moon and the Planets
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Kluwer Academic Publishers
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