Dating craters

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The heating of the sample occurs incrementally, in what is known as “step heating.” Ideally each argon degassing step should yield the same age, so that when all the individual ages are plotted together on a graph, the age is constant for the entire sample and yields a plateau.This is known as a “plateau age.” However, in some cases a plateau age is not found.

Now Emerson Speyerer, senior research engineer for the LRO, and colleagues have used that vast collection of data to see whether the current accepted rate of lunar impacts is accurate.Their research was recently published in the journal . In 1965, researchers proposed that the craters forming the Clearwater lakes were the result of such a single incident.West Clearwater Lake has a diameter of 36 kilometers (22.5 miles), while its eastern cousin is 10 kilometers smaller.There is evidence that the asteroid that formed the East crated impacted a marine environment, which would place the impact during the Ordovician period.The West crater was created in the Permian period and impacted the landmass Pangaea.

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