Impact Craters on the Moon
Craters form when an object strikes the surface of a planet, moon, or other object in outer space. Craters are also found here on Earth as well. The energy from the impact of an object such as a meteorite or asteroid is transferred to the surface that it strikes. The energy from the impact forces the surface it strikes to move. Material from the surface is thrown from the impact area to form a ring of material calledejecta. The crater can contain rocks that were changed from the impact, which are oftenbroken or melted. Craters arecircular, andabout 10 times larger than the diameter of the object that formedit.
The size, mass, speed, and angle of the falling object determine the size, shape, and complexity of the resulting crater. Small, slow-moving objects have low impact energy and cause smallcraters. Large, fast-moving objects release a lot of energy and form large, complex craters. Very large impacts can even cause secondary craters, as ejected material falls back to the ground, forming new, smaller craters, or a series of craters.
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