Matching Items (5)

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The missing large impact craters on Ceres

Description

Asteroids provide fundamental clues to the formation and evolution of planetesimals. Collisional models based on the depletion of the primordial main belt of asteroids predict 10–15 craters >400 km should have

Asteroids provide fundamental clues to the formation and evolution of planetesimals. Collisional models based on the depletion of the primordial main belt of asteroids predict 10–15 craters >400 km should have formed on Ceres, the largest object between Mars and Jupiter, over the last 4.55 Gyr. Likewise, an extrapolation from the asteroid Vesta would require at least 6–7 such basins. However, Ceres’ surface appears devoid of impact craters >∼280 km. Here, we show a significant depletion of cerean craters down to 100–150 km in diameter. The overall scarcity of recognizable large craters is incompatible with collisional models, even in the case of a late implantation of Ceres in the main belt, a possibility raised by the presence of ammoniated phyllosilicates. Our results indicate that a significant population of large craters has been obliterated, implying that long-wavelength topography viscously relaxed or that Ceres experienced protracted widespread resurfacing.

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  • 2016-07-26

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Mass movement on Vesta at steep scarps and crater rims

Description

The Quadrangles Av-11 and Av-12 on Vesta are located at the northern rim of the giant Rheasilvia south polar impact basin. The primary geologic units in Av-11 and Av-12 include

The Quadrangles Av-11 and Av-12 on Vesta are located at the northern rim of the giant Rheasilvia south polar impact basin. The primary geologic units in Av-11 and Av-12 include material from the Rheasilvia impact basin formation, smooth material and different types of impact crater structures (such as bimodal craters, dark and bright crater ray material and dark ejecta material). Av-11 and Av-12 exhibit almost the full range of mass wasting features observed on Vesta, such as slump blocks, spur-and-gully morphologies and landslides within craters. Processes of collapse, slope instability and seismically triggered events force material to slump down crater walls or scarps and produce landslides or rotational slump blocks. The spur-and-gully morphology that is known to form on Mars is also observed on Vesta; however, on Vesta this morphology formed under dry conditions.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2014-12-01

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The geological nature of dark material on Vesta and implications for the subsurface structure

Description

Deposits of dark material appear on Vesta’s surface as features of relatively low-albedo in the visible wavelength range of Dawn’s camera and spectrometer. Mixed with the regolith and partially excavated

Deposits of dark material appear on Vesta’s surface as features of relatively low-albedo in the visible wavelength range of Dawn’s camera and spectrometer. Mixed with the regolith and partially excavated by younger impacts, the material is exposed as individual layered outcrops in crater walls or ejecta patches, having been uncovered and broken up by the impact. Dark fans on crater walls and dark deposits on crater floors are the result of gravity-driven mass wasting triggered by steep slopes and impact seismicity. The fact that dark material is mixed with impact ejecta indicates that it has been processed together with the ejected material. Some small craters display continuous dark ejecta similar to lunar dark-halo impact craters, indicating that the impact excavated the material from beneath a higher-albedo surface. The asymmetric distribution of dark material in impact craters and ejecta suggests non-continuous distribution in the local subsurface. Some positive-relief dark edifices appear to be impact-sculpted hills with dark material distributed over the hill slopes. Dark features inside and outside of craters are in some places arranged as linear outcrops along scarps or as dark streaks perpendicular to the local topography. The spectral characteristics of the dark material resemble that of Vesta’s regolith. Dark material is distributed unevenly across Vesta’s surface with clusters of all types of dark material exposures. On a local scale, some craters expose or are associated with dark material, while others in the immediate vicinity do not show evidence for dark material. While the variety of surface exposures of dark material and their different geological correlations with surface features, as well as their uneven distribution, indicate a globally inhomogeneous distribution in the subsurface, the dark material seems to be correlated with the rim and ejecta of the older Veneneia south polar basin structure. The origin of the dark material is still being debated, however, the geological analysis suggests that it is exogenic, from carbon-rich low-velocity impactors, rather than endogenic, from freshly exposed mafic material or melt, exposed or created by impacts.

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Date Created
  • 2014-09-15

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The unique geomorphology and physical properties of the Vestalia Terra plateau

Description

We produced a geologic map of the Av-9 Numisia quadrangle of asteroid Vesta using Dawn spacecraft data to serve as a tool to understand the geologic relations of surface features

We produced a geologic map of the Av-9 Numisia quadrangle of asteroid Vesta using Dawn spacecraft data to serve as a tool to understand the geologic relations of surface features in this region. These features include the plateau Vestalia Terra, a hill named Brumalia Tholus, and an unusual “dark ribbon” material crossing the majority of the map area. Stratigraphic relations suggest that Vestalia Terra is one of the oldest features on Vesta, despite a model crater age date similar to that of much of the surface of the asteroid. Cornelia, Numisia and Drusilla craters reveal bright and dark material in their walls, and both Cornelia and Numisia have smooth and pitted terrains on their floors suggestive of the release of volatiles during or shortly after the impacts that formed these craters. Cornelia, Fabia and Teia craters have extensive bright ejecta lobes. While diogenitic material has been identified in association with the bright Teia and Fabia ejecta, hydroxyl has been detected in the dark material within Cornelia, Numisia and Drusilla. Three large pit crater chains appear in the map area, with an orientation similar to the equatorial troughs that cut the majority of Vesta. Analysis of these features has led to several interpretations of the geological history of the region. Vestalia Terra appears to be mechanically stronger than the rest of Vesta. Brumalia Tholus may be the surface representation of a dike-fed laccolith. The dark ribbon feature is proposed to represent a long-runout ejecta flow from Drusilla crater.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2014-03-14

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Geologic mapping of Vesta

Description

We report on a preliminary global geologic map of Vesta, based on data from the Dawn spacecraft’s High-Altitude Mapping Orbit (HAMO) and informed by Low-Altitude Mapping Orbit (LAMO) data. This

We report on a preliminary global geologic map of Vesta, based on data from the Dawn spacecraft’s High-Altitude Mapping Orbit (HAMO) and informed by Low-Altitude Mapping Orbit (LAMO) data. This map is part of an iterative mapping effort; the geologic map has been refined with each improvement in resolution. Vesta has a heavily-cratered surface, with large craters evident in numerous locations. The south pole is dominated by an impact structure identified before Dawn’s arrival. Two large impact structures have been resolved: the younger, larger Rheasilvia structure, and the older, more degraded Veneneia structure. The surface is also characterized by a system of deep, globe-girdling equatorial troughs and ridges, as well as an older system of troughs and ridges to the north. Troughs and ridges are also evident cutting across, and spiraling arcuately from, the Rheasilvia central mound. However, no volcanic features have been unequivocally identified. Vesta can be divided very broadly into three terrains: heavily-cratered terrain; ridge-and-trough terrain (equatorial and northern); and terrain associated with the Rheasilvia crater. Localized features include bright and dark material and ejecta (some defined specifically by color); lobate deposits; and mass-wasting materials. No obvious volcanic features are evident. Stratigraphy of Vesta’s geologic units suggests a history in which formation of a primary crust was followed by the formation of impact craters, including Veneneia and the associated Saturnalia Fossae unit. Formation of Rheasilvia followed, along with associated structural deformation that shaped the Divalia Fossae ridge-and-trough unit at the equator. Subsequent impacts and mass wasting events subdued impact craters, rims and portions of ridge-and-trough sets, and formed slumps and landslides, especially within crater floors and along crater rims and scarps. Subsequent to the formation of Rheasilvia, discontinuous low-albedo deposits formed or were emplaced; these lie stratigraphically above the equatorial ridges that likely were formed by Rheasilvia. The last features to be formed were craters with bright rays and other surface mantling deposits. Executed progressively throughout data acquisition, the iterative mapping process provided the team with geologic proto-units in a timely manner. However, interpretation of the resulting map was hampered by the necessity to provide the team with a standard nomenclature and symbology early in the process. With regard to mapping and interpreting units, the mapping process was hindered by the lack of calibrated mineralogic information. Topography and shadow played an important role in discriminating features and terrains, especially in the early stages of data acquisition.

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Date Created
  • 2014-11-15