Master Thesis by Elena Kolster – Niels Bohr Institute - University of Copenhagen

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Master Thesis by Elena Kolster

Impact cratering mechanic
by Elena Kolster


Meteorite impact appears as an exogenous, extremely quickly, very spectacular, terrible violent and unpredictable geological event. When an impactor strikes a solid surface a very intense shock wave generates and expands out from the site of the target.
This paper presents impact cratering mechanics as the sum of the mechanisms by which shock waves do their work and alter the impacted surface. This highly dynamic phenomenon is described in physical and geological conceptual framework.

We follow a systematic analysis of the crater formation process; from the former stage, the collision - to the last stage, the collapse and modification. To facilitate the visualisation of cratering process is used a hypothetical example of crater type, namely a complex crater resulted by impact of an iron meteorite with an anorthosite target.

The text is extended with theoretical deductions of the key theories and concepts, necessary as minimum tools in covering the description of impact events met in current literature. These are respectively shock and plastic waves theory, thermodynamics, phase diagram and metamorphism.

Supervisor: Klaus Mosegaard