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Thread: the slow filling in of a sand crater

  1. #1 the slow filling in of a sand crater 
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    Dec 2013

    This might be a strange question.

    I'm an architecture student at Harvard University and I'm researching the Sedan Crater in Nevada. I know a bit about how craters are formed by nuclear bombs, but I don't know anything about the behavior of these crater formations after they have been made.

    I would like to know if the crater is slowly filling in, and if eventually, after many years, it would fill in all together. I'm wondering how long that might take.

    I'm also looking to design an object that, if placed at the bottom of the crater, would be able to remain on the surface of the sand as the crater fills in, rather than be buried. I'm wondering what that object looks like, what its geometry is. I think it could be a sphere, but I'd rather it be more like a dish or a pin, since an architect can't do much with a sphere.

    Thanks for considering my inquiry....

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  3. #2  
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    Nov 2013
    I'm absolutely not an expert, but I'll take a guess and someone will correct me if i'm wrong.

    Yes over a long period of time (I'm thinking >thousands of years for a big crater like a meteoric one), the crater will be filled by dust and sediments.

    And I would guess if you want an object to remain on the surface over this slow process, most important would be that your object be lighter than the dust, and even then I'm not 100% sure it would "float". Not sure that geometry would have a lot to do with it.

    If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough.
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  4. #3  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Jul 2005
    In addition to filling in the crater, its margins will also erode, some of that material contributing to the infill. The time taken for this to happen will depend upon many factors: rock type, crater dimensions, temperature ranges, rainfall quantity and type, wind speeds, adjacent sources of sediment (size, type, location, etc). The time would span a few orders of magnitude.

    I don't see any obvious way that a static object could avoid burial. Perhaps a really complex object with internal spaces that would alternately fill and empty with drifting sand and create a slow (timed over months) rocking motion that maintained the object at the surface.
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