Collisions in Space while the solar system was young created many craters. Almost every solid object has signs of craters. The picture of the Moon at the left has mountains, craters and rilles.
Types of Craters
These Moon craters at left have lines called rilles
where the ground has shifted sometime after a large impact.
Impact craters are sometimes made with such force that rock melts and lava flows in the area as seen in the crater photo at left. The large dark areas on the face of the moon (called maria) are ancient lava flows. Before high powered telescopes were invented people thought they were seas.
If conditions are right, some material is thrown upwards and lands within the crater like this photo at right. This photo also shows smaller craters that happened after the initial impact.
Find out about these topics by clicking on the links below.
Full Moon Lore
Craters in the Solar System
Scientists have found craters on the Earth and other bodies in the solar system.
Even asteroids can have collisions in space. The asteroid Gaspra at left has several small impact craters. Also, some moons seem to have been made from two or more collisions.
Could a comet hit the Earth? Click here for more about Near-Earth Objects.
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Here are some basic terms used for describing craters.
- Rock of aluminum and silicates found on the moon.
- Small, rocky world. Most asteroids are between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.
- Rock made from pieces of rocks formed earlier.
- Carbonaceous Chondrite
- Stony meteorite containing chondrules and volatiles.
- A stony meteorite containing chondrules.
- Round, glassy part of meteorite made from silicates.
- Pulverized rock scattered by impacts on an object's surface.
- Lava flows on the surface of the moon. Plural, maria.
- Small rocks or sand making a bright trail through the sky as it burns in the atmosphere.
- A meteor that has landed on the Earth.
- Ejecta from impacts that spreads out away from a crater.
- Channels in the lunar surface.
- Carbon compounds, frozen gase and other materials that when heated vaporize.
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