Impact cratering is one of the fundamental processes in the solar system and, with all certainty, beyond. This process played a major role when the planets and their moons began to form from the protoplanetary disk, and throughout planetary evolution since then. On Earth, impacts of certain size even affected the evolution of life.
Lunar and interplanetary spaceflight over the past 50 years has provided us with detailed maps of the old, impact-crater covered surfaces of our Solar System neighbors. For Earth, the global impact crater record only represents a fraction of the bombardment that our planet has had to endure. Tectonic activity, erosion and weathering, and post-impact burial under sedimentary covers have erased most of the terrestrial impact history. Many of the remaining recognized crater structures have either been modified almost beyond recognition, or are buried entirely.
Mapping what is left of the terrestrial impact record from a satellite platform in low-earth orbit is often obscured by dense clouds and dust-laden air layers in our atmosphere; or even the lack of solar illumination prevents us to see the bare ground. Remote sensing methods developed in the past decades have given us tools, however, to tackle the challenge of mapping the Earth's surface with high precision.
Between 2010 and 2016 the German TanDEM-X radar X-band mission, operated and managed by DLR, the German Aerospace Center, generated the first global space-borne terrestrial digital elevation model of high resolution, based on Synthetic Aperture Radar interferometric measurements. We have used these data and produced the first topographic atlas of all currently confirmed terrestrial impact structures. Terrestrial Impact Structures provides the readership with the basic principles of impact cratering, of radar remote sensing, and of the TanDEM-X mission. It addresses the updated terrestrial impact crater record with more than 200 high-resolution maps, supplemented by geological descriptions and a plethora of field photographs for most structures. Thus, this atlas provides a comprehensive overview of the impact crater record for each continent.
Volume 1: Africa, North/Central America, South America (pp. 1-310)
Preface (p. 7)
1. Small Bodies in the Solar System (p. 9)
2. Impacts (p. 11)
3. Terrestrial Impact Structures (p. 19)
4. Radar Remote Sensing (p. 23)
5. The TanDEM-X Mission (p. 26)
6. TanDEM-X Maps of Impact Structures (p. 30)
7. The Atlas (p. 33)
7.1 Africa [21 impact structures] (p. 35)
7.2 North/Central America [64 impact structures] (p. 100)
7.3 South America [14 impact structures] (p. 257)
Geologic Timescale (p. 304)
Volume 2: Asia, Australia, Europe (pp. 311-608)
7.4 Asia [24 impact structures] (p. 311)
7.5 Australia [30 impact structures] (p. 373)
7.6 Europe [52 impact structures] (p. 449)
Geologic Timescale (p. 573)
Selected References (p. 575)
Glossary (p. 593)
Chemical Elements (p. 599)
Abbreviations and Acronyms (p. 599)
Impact Geology Index (p. 601)
Cartographic Index (p. 604)
Authors (p. 607)
Manfred Gottwald was educated in astronomy and physics at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich. After his Ph.D. in 1983 he worked in high-energy astrophysics for the European Space Agency and the Max-Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, studying objects far out in our galaxy and beyond. When he joined the German Aerospace Center at Oberpfaffenhofen, our solar system and Earth became the scientific topics of choice. At the Earth Observation Center he was involved in many space-borne missions investigating our atmosphere, our cryosphere and the terrestrial surface. Particularly challenging was his responsibility for the atmospheric science instrument SCIAMACHY on the European ENVISAT platform. Since the International Polar Year 2007/2008 he coordinated the national Earth Observation missions in support of polar science under the auspices of the World Meteorological Organization. This familiarized him with the TanDEM-X radar mission, whose high-resolution digital elevation model allowed Manfred to engage in impact craters, a field where astronomy meets geology.
Thomas Kenkmann studied geology and paleontology at the University of Cologne and completed his dissertation in 1997 at the Freie Universität Berlin. Since 2010 he has been Professor of Geology and Structural Geology at the University of Freiburg, Germany. Thomas Kenkmann and his working group are investigating the structure and deformation inventory of impact craters on Earth and other planetary bodies at scales ranging from satellite imagery to micrometers. Thomas is a passionate field geologist, who has studied more than 40 terrestrial impact craters worldwide, and mapped many of them geologically, among them Upheaval Dome in the United States, Jebel Waqf as Suwwan in Jordan, Serra da Cangalha in Brazil, and Matt Wilson, and Gosses Bluff in Australia. He is responsible for a number of crater discoveries and confirmations such as Saqqar in Saudi Arabia, the Douglas crater strewn field in the United States, or Ramgarh in India. In 2018 he received the Barringer Medal and Award of the Meteoritical Society for his key contributions to the area of impact crater research.
Wolf Uwe Reimold holds M.Sc. (1977) and Ph.D. (1980) degrees in Mineralogy from the University of Münster (Germany). Post-doctoral research at NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston (USA) was followed by research positions and then a Professorship in Mineralogy at the University of the Witwatersrand (Johannesburg, South Africa, 19842005). Uwe’s main research interests have been multidisciplinary Impact Crater and Shock Metamorphism studies, besides some Economic Geology and Regional Geology exploits in southern Africa and Ethiopia. Impact research was mainly focused on structures in Africa, Europe, and North America, including a major contribution to the understanding of the Vredefort impact structure in South Africa. Other main research targets were Bosumtwi (Ghana), Roter Kamm (Namibia), and various structures in Scandinavia, and in recent years in Brazil. In 2006, Uwe transferred to Humboldt University and the Museum für Naturkunde in Berlin, where he served as Professor of Mineralogy and Petrography, and Head of the Evolution and Geosciences Division of the Museum. In 2018 Uwe took retirement in Berlin, and a new position as Professor Titular at the Institute of Geosciences at the University of Brasília, Brasil.