Asked Nov 11, 2019

Why are Mercury and the Moon so much more heavily cratered than the Earth?

Explain how crater counts tell us the age of a surface.


Expert Answer

Step 1

The fact that Mercury and Moon are more heavily cratered than Earth implies that the their surfaces are much older. This is because Mercury and Moon are long dead geologically with the exception for impact cratering. Moreover, they are heavily cratered as a result of lack of a heavy atmosphere in order to erode away primordial impacts.

Step 2

Processes like tectonics, volcanism and erosion happen in earth. Such processes renew earth’s surface and erase impact craters resulting in relatively young and uncratered surface.

Step 3

As impact cratering occur on planets at known rates, age of the surface can be known by counting the num...

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