Rebuttal to the comment by Malhotra and Strom on "Constraints on the source of lunar cataclysm impactors"
Ćuk et al. (Ćuk, M. Gladman, B.J., Stewart, S.T. . Icarus 207 590-594) concluded that the the lunar cataclysm (late heavy bombardment) was recorded in lunar Imbrian era craters, and that their size distribution is different from that of main belt asteroids (which may have been the dominant pre-Imbrian impactors). This result would likely preclude the asteroid belt as the direct source of lunar cataclysm impactors. Malhotra and Strom (Malhotra, R., Strom, R.G. . Icarus) maintain that the lunar impactor population in the Imbrian era was the same as in Nectarian and pre-Nectarian periods, and this population had a size distribution identical to that of main belt asteroids. In support of this claim, they present an Imbrian size distribution made from two data sets published by Wilhelms et al. (Wilhelms, D.E., Oberbeck, V.R., Aggarwal, H.R. . Proc. Lunar Sci. Conf. 9, 3735-3762). However, these two data sets cannot be simply combined as they represent areas of different ages and therefore crater densities. Malhotra and Strom (Malhotra, R., Strom, R.G. . Icarus) differ with the main conclusion of Wilhelms et al. (Wilhelms, D.E., Oberbeck, V.R., Aggarwal, H.R. . Proc. Lunar Sci. Conf. 9, 3735-3762) that the Nectarian and Imbrian crater size distributions were different. We conclude that the available data indicate that the lunar Imbrian-era impactors had a different size distribution from the older ones, with the Imbrian impactor distribution being significantly richer in small impactors than that of older lunar impactors or current main-belt asteroids.