Candidates for multiple impact craters?: Popigai and Chicxulub as seen by the global high resolution gravitational field model EGM2008
- 1Astronomical Institute, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Ondřejov, Czech Republic
- 2Research Institute for Geodesy, Topography and Cartography, Zdiby, Czech Republic
- 3Department of Advanced Geodesy, Czech Technical University, Prague, Czech Republic
- 4Department of Math., Faculty of Applied Sciences, University of West Bohemia, Pilsen, Czech Republic
- 5Laboratory for Satellite Altimetry, NOAA, Silver Spring, MD, USA
Abstract. In 2008 the new Earth Gravitational Model (EGM2008) was released. It contains a complete set of spherical harmonic coefficients of the Earth's gravitational potential (Stokes parameters) to degree 2190 and order 2159 and selected orders to degree 2190, that can be used for evaluation of various potential quantities with both the unprecedented accuracy and high spatial resolution. Two such quantities, the gravity anomaly and second-order radial derivative of the disturbing potential, were computed over selected areas with known impact craters. The displays of these derivatives for two such sites clearly show not only the strong circular-like features known to be associated with them but also other symmetrical structures which appear to make them multiple impact sites. At Popigai, Siberia, the series of circular features fall in a line from the "primary crater" in the southeast (SE) direction. At Chicxulub, Yucatán, there appears to be one more crater close to the "primary" in the northeast (NE) direction, as well as possibly others in the vicinity of the main crater (SW). Gravity information alone is not, however, proof of impact craters but it is useful in identifying candidate sites for further study, for examination by geologists and geophysicists. In the case of Chicxulub, a very recent single seismic profile suggests that a more likely explanation for the observed circular like gravity signal from EGM2008 NE of the "primary" is a pre-impact basin.