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What are craters?


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January 09, 2012 11:58PM

The word crater (meaning bowl-shaped) is applied to two different phenomena.

On planets and moons, meteor craters are the circular depressions caused by the impacts of other objects, mainly smaller asteroids and meteoroids. They are prominent on the Moon and on the planet Mercury. Some objects hit Earth in the past, but only a few landmarks still exhibit their characteristic bowl shape.

The other use is to describe a volcanic caldera, or inner depression within a volcano. Many dormant volcanoes have solidified craters in their peaks, some with lakes or glaciers.