Research Unit "Experimental Impact Cratering: The MEMIN Program"


Impact cratering is a fundamental geologic process throughout the solar system. Understanding this process requires multi- and interdisciplinary research that includes studies of natural craters, laboratory experiments, and numerical simulations. The Multidisciplinary Experimental and Modeling Impact Research Network (MEMIN) comprising geoscientists, physicists, and engineers. Central to MEMIN is a newly designed two-stage light gas gun capable to produce craters in the decimeter-range in solid rocks, a size previously not achieved at the laboratory scale that enables detailed spatial analyses. The proposed cratering experiments on sandstone targets comprise a parametric study of the role of water, porosity, target layering, and impact velocity on cratering mechanics, shock effects, and projectile distribution during cratering. The work program includes (i) complete mineralogical-petrophysical, and mechanical characterization of the target prior to and after the experiment using, for example, state-of-the-art geophysical tools for meso-scale tomography and microstructural analyses at the nano-scale, (ii) stringent control of the impact experiment itself with newly developed in-situ real-time measurements of fracture propagation, stresses, crater growth and ejecta dynamics, and (iii) numerical modeling of the complete process. MEMIN is designed to yield a solid data base for validation and refining of numerical cratering models that will allow scaling of meso-scale observations to the size of natural craters. MEMIN will further our understanding of impact damaging of rocks and, hence, the nature of geophysical signatures of terrestrial craters.


Principal Investigators
Kenkmann, Thomas-Bernd Dr. (Details) (Mineralogy)

Duration of Project
Start date: 05/2009
End date: 04/2010

Last updated on 2020-13-03 at 23:05