The Lidang circular structure in the center of the Guangxi Province is about 8 km in diameter. This structure appears as an abnormal shallow depression that has disturbed the rather harmonic regional joint systems. Its unique occurrence in the whole region, the circular morphology, negative topography, and the spatial distribution of interior and exterior strata are all consistent with those of impact craters that are formed by asteroidal or cometary collision. To test the impact hypothesis, we carried out both field investigation and remote sensing study of this structure. Regional geological history suggests that if the impact hypothesis were correct, the impact event should have occurred at or after the Early Permian. Field investigation found that the strata inside and outside the crater are dominated by parallel stacks of Lower and Upper Permian limestone that have various thicknesses and different mud contents. The layers of limestone within and outside the circular structure have identical attitudes; no structural disturbances were visible in the outcrops. Field investigations provide conclusive evidence against the impact cratering hypothesis. A high-resolution digital elevation model shows that the spatial distribution of rounded mountains within the structure is controlled by faint but continual extension of joints, suggesting that the crater interior has gone through a much higher degree of erosion. Therefore, regional joints that had once existed within the crater are preserved less well than exterior terrains, forming the abruptly disrupted circular depression. Differential erosion, as the possible formation mechanism of the Lidang structure, is consistent with the different mud contents found between the interior and exterior limestone. The circular outline of this structure may correspond to the shape of the original deposition basin. In conclusion, the Lidang circular structure is a polje formed by karstification, not an astrobleme.
The prototype for investigations of formation mechanisms and related geological effects of large impact basins on planetary bodies has been the Orientale basin on the Moon. Its widespread secondaries, light plains, and near-rim melt flows have been well mapped in previous studies. Flow features are also widely associated with secondaries on planetary bodies, but their physical properties are not well constrained. The nature of flow features associated with large impact basins are critically important to understand the emplacement process of basin ejecta, which is one of the most fundamental processes in shaping the shallow crusts of planetary bodies. Here we use multisource remote sensing data to constrain the physical properties of flow features formed by the secondaries of the Orientale basin. The results suggest that such flows are dominated by centimeter-scale fine debris fines; larger boulders are not abundant. The shattering of target materials during the excavation of the Orientale basin, landing impact of ejecta that formed the secondaries, and grain comminution within the flows have substantially reduced particle sizes, forming the fine flows. The discovery of global-wide fine debris flows formed by large impact basins has profound implications to the interpretation of both previously-returned samples and remote sensing data.