What are Crater Chains?

Crater chains have been defined as "regularly spaced row of three or more impact craters with similar size and apparently identical ages 1" (Bottke, W.F., D.C. Richardson, and S.G. Love 1997.  Can Tidal Disruption of Asteroids Make Crater Chains on the Earth and Moon? Icarus 126, 470-474). 2

Craters in the crater chain were created all at the same time with a magnitude of force to move the surface material and leave the circular bowls 3.  The displaced surface material did not fall back into the adjacent craters 4, otherwise the craters would show evidence of this displaced material within adjacent craters, further supporting the age of the craters in a crater chain as being of identical age. 5

To take a peek at 13 craters 6 in a row called Enki Catena on Ganymede, a moon of Jupiter's, click on the top frame bar above this text, drag it down slightly to view the background image.  Another name for crater chain is catena.  Do not forget to click and drag the frame bar back to the top.

1 http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA01610
2 http://www.astro.umd.edu/~dcr/Research/bottke_icarus126%2C470.pdf
3 http://nuclearweaponarchive.org/Usa/Tests/Sedancrater2.jpg
4 http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA00549
5 http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA01610