New Type of Mars Craters

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 9,189
    An astronomer at Northern Arizona University discovers a new type of Martian crater from MRO images while updating a popular crater catalogue.

     A Northern Arizona University astronomer discovered the new type of craters naming them Low-Aspect-Ratio Layered Ejecta, or LARLE, craters.  While updating a catalog of Martian craters, the astronomer noticed the LARLE craters which have a thin, sinuous, outer residue that extends far beyond the typical range of material thrown up by an impact.  After much research, she determined that the deposit was due to a phenomenon called “base surge” in which a cloud of fine material forms after a large explosion and pushes out along the impact surface, eroding it and picking up material as it goes creating the widespread outer deposit.  They used high-resolution images from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter to get a good view of the novel craters.  The astronomer said “that's part of the fun of science, to see something and say whoa, what's that?”