Impact Cratering : Processes and Products

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2012-12-26
  • Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell

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Impact cratering is arguably the most ubiquitous geological process in the Solar System. It has played an important role in Earth's history, shaping the geological landscape, affecting the evolution of life, and generating economic resources. However, it was only in the latter half of the 20th century that the importance of impact cratering as a geological process was recognized and only during the past couple of decades that the study of meteorite impact structures has moved into the mainstream. This book seeks to fill a critical gap in the literature by providing an overview text covering broad aspects of the impact cratering process and aimed at graduate students, professionals and researchers alike. It introduces readers to the threat and nature of impactors, the impact cratering process, the products, and the effects both destructive and beneficial. A series of chapters on the various techniques used to study impact craters provide a foundation for anyone studying impact craters for the first time.

Author Biography

Dr. Gordon “Oz” Osinski is the NSERC/MDA/CSA Industrial Research Chair in Planetary Geology in the Departments of Earth Sciences and Physics and Astronomy at Western University, Canada. He holds a B.Sc. (Hons) First Class in Geology from the University of St. Andrews, Scotland (1999) and a Ph.D., also in Geology (2004), from the University of New Brunswick, Canada. His research covers the tectonics of impact crater formation, the generation of impact melts, emplacement of ejecta, and post-impact processes such as impact-associated hydrothermal activity. He has published more than 70 papers in peer-reviewed journals and special papers and has given over 60 conference presentations since 2001.

Dr. Elisabetta Pierazzo , who tragically died during the preparation of this book, was a Research Scientist at the Planetary Science Institute and an Adjunct Assistant Research Scientist at the Lunar & Planetary Laboratory, University of Arizona, both located in Tucson, Arizona. She held a Laurea in Physics from the University of Padua, Italy (1988) and a Ph.D. in Planetary Sciences from University of Arizona (1997). She was a world renowned expert on the numerical modelling of impact events, focusing on the environmental effects of impact events, oblique impacts, and impact melt production.

Table of Contents

List of Contributors

1. Impact cratering: Processes and products

Gordon R. Osinski and Elisabetta Pierazzo

2. Population of impactors and the impact cratering rate in the inner Solar System

Patrick Michel and Alessandro Morbidelli

3. The contact and compression stage of impact cratering

H. Jay Melosh

4. Excavation and impact ejecta emplacement

Gordon R. Osinski, Richard A. F. Grieve, and Livio L. Tornabene

5. The modification stage of crater formation

Thomas Kenkmann, Gareth S. Collins and Kai Wünnemann

6. Impact-induced hydrothermal activity

Kalle Kirsimäe and Gordon R. Osinski

7. Impactites: Their characteristics and spatial distribution

Richard A. F. Grieve and Ann M. Therriault

8. Shock Metamorphism

Ludovic Ferrière and Gordon R. Osinski

9. Impact Melting

Gordon R. Osinski, Richard A. F. Grieve, Cassandra Marion, and Anna Chanou

10. Environmental effects of impact events

Elisabetta Pierazzo and H. Jay Melosh

11. The Geomicrobiology of impact structures

Charles S. Cockell, Gordon R. Osinski, and Mary A. Voytek

12. Economic deposits at terrestrial impact structures

Richard A. F. Grieve

13. Remote sensing of impact craters

Shawn P. Wright, Livio L. Tornabene, and Michael S. Ramsey

14. Geophysical studies of impact craters

Joanna Morgan and Mario Rebolledo-Vieyra

15. Projectile identification in terrestrial impact structures and ejecta material

Steven Goderis, François Paquay, and Philippe Claeys

16. The Geochronology of Impact Craters

Simon P. Kelley and Sarah C. Sherlock

17. Numerical modeling of impact processes

Gareth S. Collins, Kai Wünnemann, Natalia Artemieva, and Elisabetta Pierazzo

18. Comparison of simple impact craters: A case study

Horton E. Newsom, Shawn P. Wright, Saumitra Misra, and Justin J. Hagerty

19. Comparison of mid-size terrestrial complex impact structures: A case study

Gordon R. Osinski and Richard A. F. Grieve

20. Processes and products of impact cratering: Glossary and definitions

Gordon R. Osinski


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