Boulder stranding in ejecta launched by an impact generated seismic pulse

Esteban Wright, Alice C. Quillen, Juliana South, Randal C. Nelson, Paul Sánchez, Larkin Martini, Stephen R. Schwartz, Miki Nakajima, Erik Asphaug

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


We consider how an impact generated seismic pulse affects the surface of an asteroid distant from the impact site. With laboratory experiments on dry polydisperse gravel mixtures, we track the trajectories of particles ejected from the surface by a single strong upward propagating pressure pulse. High speed video images show that ejecta trajectories are independent of particle size, and collisions primarily take place upon landing. When they land particles are ballistically sorted, as proposed by Shinbrot et al. (2017), leaving larger particles on the surface and smaller particles more widely dispersed. A single strong pulse can leave previously buried boulders stranded on the surface. Boulder stranding due to an impact excited seismic pulse is an additional mechanism that could leave large boulders present on the surface of rubble asteroids such as 162173 Ryugu, 101955 Bennu and 25143 Itokawa.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number113424
StatePublished - Feb 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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