Vol 23, No 12

Evolution of Subkilometer-scale Impact Craters on the Lunar Maria as Constrained from Mini-RF Data and Topographic Degradation Model

Qinghai Sun (孙庆海), Wenzhe Fa (法文哲), Meng-Hua Zhu (祝梦华) and Jun Du (都骏)


Physical properties (e.g., ejecta size and distribution) of impact craters are crucial and essential to understanding the ejecta excavation and deposition process, estimating rock breakdown rate, and revealing their evolution characteristics. However, whether these physical properties are scale-dependent and how they evolve in different radial regions needs further studies. In this study, we first investigated the physical properties and evolution of sub-kilometer (D ≤ 800 m) craters on lunar maria based on the radar circular polarization ratio (CPR). In addition, we estimated the periods over which rocks and blocky ejecta are exposed and buried in the shallow subsurface layer (termed as exposure time) in different radial regions and assessed the retention time and degradation states for potential radar anomalous craters. We found that in the central region of craters, the largest median CPR occurs after an 80 Myr delay following crater formation. In the rim region, there is no obvious CPR peak in the first 100 Ma, whereas in the upper wall region, an evident CPR peak occurs beyond 100 Ma and could last over one billion years. In addition, the probable exposure time of rocks and blocky ejecta is estimated to be ∼2.0 Gyr (central region), ∼2.7 Gyr (upper wall region), ∼2.1 Gyr (rim region), and ∼0.6 Gyr (continuous ejecta blanket region). We also propose that the retention time of radar anomalous craters depends on the crater size, whereas their degraded states are independent of crater size.


Key words: Moon – planets and satellites: surfaces – planets and satellites: physical evolution

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