Giordano Bruno: Small crater populations––Implications for self-secondary cratering

J. B. Plescia, Mark Robinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Giordano Bruno is a lunar farside Copernican-age crater. The relatively few superposed impact craters on its floor and ejecta blanket and extensive bright rays indicate its youth. High-resolution Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera images reveal that the frequency and the characteristics of the cumulative size-frequency distributions of the small-diameter impact craters and their morphology vary across the clastic ejecta and impact melt covered surfaces. Crater frequencies (N(10) defined as ≥10 m km−2) vary by a factor of 10 s–100 s (N(10) 2–700) across the ejecta blanket, and between the ejecta and the melt deposits. Numerous craters on the ejecta blanket are degraded and buried by debris and impact melt, indicating that these partially buried craters formed during the deposition of the ejecta and prior to or during the emplacement of the impact melt. From geologic relations and crater statistics we conclude that a significant fraction of the craters observed on the ejecta blanket and the melt were formed during the cratering process itself and represent “self-secondaries.” Further, we conclude that these craters do not represent an extra-lunar primary impact production population. Self-secondary craters are formed by material launched into near-vertical trajectories and having velocities such that their flight time is sufficiently long that the bulk of the clastic ejecta and impact melt are deposited before that material impacts the surface. The presence of a significant number of self-secondary craters on the ejecta makes the determination of relative and absolute age dates problematic. Crater counts would indicate an inappropriately old age. Using data for craters on the melt surfaces and for small-diameter bright ejecta craters, an absolute model age of 1 Ma is estimated. This age is considerably younger than that estimated by other studies and probably represents a maximum age.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)974-993
Number of pages20
StatePublished - Mar 15 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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