"Crater Chains on the Earth? Probably Not."

W. F. Bottke, Jr., D. C. Richardson, S. G. Love

(1997) Icarus 126, 470-474

Recent reports suggest that crater chains exist on Earth, possibly formed by weak asteroids or comets tidally stretched apart by the Moon (analogous to comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 at Jupiter) with the resulting fragment trains proceeding directly to strike the Earth. By modeling tidal disruption by the Earth and Moon of particulate bodies held together by self-gravity, we find that the formation rate of crater chains on the Moon is ~10 times the corresponding terrestrial rate. The number of known lunar crater chains (~1) and the relative youth of the Earth's surface together suggest that terrestrial crater chains, if they exist, form by another process.

For more information, contact Bill Bottke:bottke@astrosun.tn.cornell.edu