Imperial College London

Professor Gareth Collins

Faculty of EngineeringDepartment of Earth Science & Engineering

Professor of Planetary Science



+44 (0)20 7594 1518g.collins Website




4.83Royal School of MinesSouth Kensington Campus





Impact is a fundamental solar system process: it builds planets from dust, it shapes planetary surfaces, it causes mass extinction and it threatens the survival of humankind. My research explores the many consequences of impacts in the solar system through the development and application of numerical impact models.



Professor, Imperial College London


Reader, Imperial College London


Senior Lecturer, Imperial College London


NERC Advanced Research Fellow, Imperial College London


NERC Postdoctoral Research Fellow (EMS), Imperial College London


Research Associate, Lunar and Planetary Lab., University of Arizona


PhD Geology (Numerical Modelling of Large Impact Crater Collapse), Imperial College London


BSc Geophysics (with Mathematics), University of Liverpool

Recent Measures of Esteem

  • 2023 - Asteroid (31358) Garethcollins
  • 2022 - Barringer Medal of the Meteoritical Society
  • 2019 - ESA Hera mission Impact Working Group Member
  • 2018 - Co-Investigator - NASA InSight Mission
  • 2017 - Plenary Talk – Hypervelocity Impact Symposium (Univ. of Kent, Canterbury)
  • 2017 - APS Meeting on Shock Physics of Condensed Matter (St. Louis, MO, USA)
  • 2016- NASA DART Investigation Team Member
  • 2014-2020 Associate Editor JGR Planets
  • 2013  Invited talk Herdman Society Symposium, University of Liverpool
  • 2007-12 NERC Advanced Research Fellowship
  • 2012  Invited talk AGU Fall Meeting
  • 2011  Scientific committee for the "Bombardment II" workshop
  • 2010  Invited talk European Planetary Science Conference, Rome.
  • 2004-7  NERC Research Fellowship
  • 2007  Scientific committee for the "Bridging the Gap II" impact cratering workshop
  • 2007  Invited talk British Geophysical Association

Research Interests

My interests include all aspects of impact cratering and other, related violent geologic processes. 

I develop and use numerical models to study impact processes, their consequences on Earth and in our Solar System, and related large, rapid, violent geologic processes, such as large rock avalanches.

For more information on my research, please visit my research pages.

To learn more about impact cratering and the potential effects of impacts on Earth, try the calculators that I have helped develop:

Impact: Earth!

The Earth Impact Effects Program

Cratering in the News

There are ~190 known impact craters on Earth, and more are found each year.  Some recent media articles I have been involved in:

Selected Publications

Journal Articles

Steele SC, Fu R, Volk MWR, et al., 2023, Paleomagnetic evidence for a long-lived, potentially reversing martian dynamo at ~3.9 Ga, Science Advances, Vol:9, ISSN:2375-2548, Pages:1-13

Cheng AF, Agrusa HF, Barbee BW, et al., 2023, Momentum transfer from the DART mission kinetic impact on asteroid dimorphos, Nature, Vol:616, ISSN:0028-0836, Pages:457-460

Daly RT, Ernst CM, Barnouin OS, et al., 2023, Successful kinetic impact into an asteroid for planetary defense, Nature, Vol:616, ISSN:0028-0836, Pages:443-447

Dundas CM, Mellon MT, Posiolova LV, et al., 2023, A large new grater exposes the limits of water ice on Mars, Geophysical Research Letters, Vol:50, ISSN:0094-8276, Pages:1-9

King AJ, Daly L, Rowe J, et al., 2022, The Winchcombe meteorite, a unique and pristine witness from the outer solar system., Science of Advanced Materials, Vol:8, ISSN:1947-2935, Pages:1-17

Davison TM, Collins GS, 2022, Complex crater formation by oblique impacts on the Earth and Moon, Geophysical Research Letters, Vol:49, ISSN:0094-8276, Pages:1-9

Posiolova LV, Lognonné P, Banerdt WB, et al., 2022, Largest recent impact craters on Mars: Orbital imaging and surface seismic co-investigation., Science, Vol:378, ISSN:0036-8075, Pages:412-417

Garcia RF, Daubar IJ, Beucler É, et al., 2022, Newly formed craters on Mars located using seismic and acoustic wave data from InSight, Nature Geoscience, Vol:15, ISSN:1752-0894, Pages:774-780

Wiggins SE, Johnson BC, Collins GS, et al., 2022, Widespread impact-generated porosity in early planetary crusts., Nature Communications, Vol:13, ISSN:2041-1723, Pages:1-6

Collins GS, Newland EL, Schwarz D, et al., 2022, Meteoroid fragmentation in the martian atmosphere and the formation of crater clusters, Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, Vol:127, ISSN:2169-9097, Pages:1-22

Daubar IJ, Lognonné P, Teanby NA, et al., 2020, A new crater near inSight: implications for seismic impact detectability on Mars, Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, Vol:125, ISSN:2169-9097

Collins G, Patel N, Davison T, et al., 2020, A steeply-inclined trajectory for the Chicxulub impact, Nature Communications, Vol:11, ISSN:2041-1723, Pages:1-10

Banerdt WB, Smrekar SE, Banfield D, et al., 2020, Initial results from the InSight mission on Mars, Nature Geoscience, Vol:13, ISSN:1752-0894, Pages:183-189

Raducan SD, Davison TM, Collins GS, 2020, The effects of asteroid layering on ejecta mass-velocity distribution and implications for impact momentum transfer, Planetary and Space Science, Vol:180, ISSN:0032-0633

Gulick SPS, Bralower T, Ormö J, et al., 2019, The first day of the Cenozoic, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, Vol:116, ISSN:0027-8424, Pages:19342-19351

Raducan SD, Davison TM, Luther R, et al., 2019, The role of asteroid strength, porosity and internal friction in impact momentum transfer, Icarus, Vol:329, ISSN:0019-1035, Pages:282-295

Rae ASP, Collins G, Morgan J, et al., 2019, Impact-induced porosity and micro-fracturing at the Chicxulub impact structure, Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, Vol:124, ISSN:2169-9097, Pages:1960-1978

McMullan S, Collins GS, 2019, Uncertainty quantification in continuous fragmentation airburst models, Icarus, Vol:327, ISSN:0019-1035, Pages:19-35

Bellucci JJ, Nemchin AA, Grange M, et al., 2019, Terrestrial-like zircon in a clast from an Apollo 14 breccia, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Vol:510, ISSN:0012-821X, Pages:173-185

Rae A, Collins G, Poelchau M, et al., 2019, Stress-strain evolution during peak-ring formation: a case study of the Chicxulub impact structure, Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, Vol:124, ISSN:2169-9097, Pages:396-417

Riller U, Poelchau MH, Rae A, et al., 2018, Rock fluidization during peak-ring formation of large impact structures, Nature, Vol:562, ISSN:0028-0836, Pages:511-518

Morgan JV, Gulick SPS, Bralower T, et al., 2016, The formation of peak rings in large impact craters, Science, Vol:354, ISSN:0036-8075, Pages:878-882

Johnson BC, Blair DM, Collins GS, 2016, Formation of the Orientale lunar multiring basin, Science, Vol:354, ISSN:0036-8075, Pages:441-444

Kring DA, Kramer GY, Collins GS, et al., 2016, Peak-Ring Structure and Kinematics from a Multi-disciplinary Study of the Schrödinger Impact Basin, Nature Communications, Vol:7, ISSN:2041-1723

Milbury C, Johnson BC, Melosh HJ, et al., 2015, Preimpact porosity controls the gravity signature of lunar craters, Geophysical Research Letters, Vol:42, ISSN:1944-8007, Pages:9711-9716

Miljkovic K, Wieczorek MA, Collins GS, et al., 2015, Excavation of the lunar mantle by basin-forming impact events on the Moon, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Vol:409, ISSN:0012-821X, Pages:243-251

Jacobs CT, Goldin TJ, Collins GS, et al., 2015, An improved quantitative measure of the tendency for volcanic ash plumes to form in water: implications for the deposition of marine ash beds, Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, Vol:290, ISSN:0377-0273, Pages:114-124

Collins GS, 2014, Numerical simulations of impact crater formation with dilatancy, Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, Vol:119, ISSN:2169-9097, Pages:2600-2619

Bland PA, Collins GS, Davison TM, et al., 2014, Pressure-temperature evolution of primordial solar system solids during impact-induced compaction, Nature Communications, Vol:5, ISSN:2041-1723, Pages:1-13

Hill J, Collins GS, Avdis A, et al., 2014, How does multiscale modelling and inclusion of realistic palaeobathymetry affect numerical simulation of the Storegga Slide tsunami?, Ocean Modelling, Vol:83, ISSN:1463-5003, Pages:11-25

Miljković K, Wieczorek MA, Collins GS, et al., 2013, Asymmetric Distribution of Lunar Impact Basins Caused by Variations in Target Properties, Science, Vol:342, ISSN:0036-8075, Pages:724-726

Davison TM, O'Brien DP, Ciesla FJ, et al., 2013, The early impact histories of meteorite parent bodies, Meteoritics & Planetary Science, Vol:48, ISSN:1086-9379, Pages:1894-1918

Miljković K, Collins GS, Mannick S, et al., 2013, Morphology and population of binary asteroid impact craters, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Vol:363, ISSN:0012-821X, Pages:121-132

Potter RWK, Kring DA, Collins GS, 2013, Quantifying the attenuation of structural uplift beneath large lunar craters, Geophysical Research Letters, Vol:40, ISSN:1944-8007, Pages:5615–5620-5615–5620

Potter RWK, Kring DA, Collins GS, et al., 2012, Estimating transient crater size using the crustal annular bulge: Insights from numerical modeling of lunar basin-scale impacts, Geophysical Research Letters, Vol:39, ISSN:0094-8276

Collins GS, Melosh HJ, Osinski GR, 2012, The Impact-Cratering Process, Elements, Vol:8, ISSN:1811-5209, Pages:25-30

Potter RWK, Collins GS, Kiefer WS, et al., 2012, Constraining the size of the South Pole-Aitken basin impact, Icarus, Vol:220, ISSN:0019-1035, Pages:730 - 743-730 - 743

Collins GS, Elbeshausen D, Davison TM, et al., 2011, The size-frequency distribution of elliptical impact craters, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Vol:310, ISSN:0012-821X, Pages:1-8

Collins GS, Melosh HJ, Wunnemann K, 2011, Improvements to the epsilon-alpha porous compaction model for simulating impacts into high-porosity solar system objects, International Journal of Impact Engineering, Vol:38, ISSN:0734-743X, Pages:434-439

Schulte P, Alegret L, Arenillas I, et al., 2010, The Chicxulub Asteroid Impact and Mass Extinction at the Cretaceous-Paleogene Boundary, Science, Vol:327, ISSN:0036-8075, Pages:1214-1218

Elbeshausen D, Wuennemann K, Collins GS, 2009, Scaling of oblique impacts in frictional targets: Implications for crater size and formation mechanisms, Icarus, Vol:204, ISSN:0019-1035, Pages:716-731

Christeson GL, Collins GS, Morgan JV, et al., 2009, Mantle deformation beneath the Chicxulub impact crater, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Vol:284, ISSN:0012-821X, Pages:249-257

Collins GS, Morgan J, Barton P, et al., 2008, Dynamic modeling suggests terrace zone asymmetry in the Chicxulub crater is caused by target heterogeneity, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Vol:270, ISSN:0012-821X, Pages:221-230

Wuennemann K, Collins GS, Osinski GR, 2008, Numerical modelling of impact melt production in porous rocks, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Vol:269, ISSN:0012-821X, Pages:529-538

Wünnemann K, Collins GS, Melosh HJ, 2006, A strain-based porosity model for use in hydrocode simulations of impacts and implications for transient crater growth in porous targets, Icarus, Vol:180, ISSN:0019-1035, Pages:514-527

Collins GS, Wünnemann K, 2005, How big was the Chesapeake Bay impact?: Insight from numerical modeling, Geology, Vol:33, ISSN:0091-7613, Pages:925-928

Collins GS, Melosh HJ, Marcus RA, 2005, Earth Impact Effects Program: A Web-based computer program for calculating the regional environmental consequences of a meteoroid impact on Earth, Meteoritics & Planetary Science, Vol:40, ISSN:1086-9379, Pages:817-840

Melosh HJ, Collins GS, 2005, Meteor Crater formed by low-velocity impact - The paucity of melted rock in this crater may be due to the striking projectile's speed, Nature, Vol:434, ISSN:0028-0836, Pages:157-157

Collins GS, Melosh HJ, Ivanov BA, 2004, Modeling damage and deformation in impact simulations, Meteoritics & Planetary Science, Vol:39, ISSN:1086-9379, Pages:217-231

Collins GS, Melosh HJ, Morgan JV, et al., 2002, Hydrocode Simulations of Chicxulub crater collapse and peak-ring formation, Icarus, Vol:157, ISSN:0019-1035, Pages:24-33

Morgan, J.V., Warner, M.R., Collins, G., et al., 2000, Peak-ring formation in large impact craters: geophysical constraints from Chicxulub, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Vol:183, ISSN:0012-821X, Pages:347-354

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