Matching Items (6)

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The geology of the Marcia quadrangle of asteroid Vesta: Assessing the effects of large, young craters

Description

We used Dawn spacecraft data to identify and delineate geological units and landforms in the Marcia quadrangle of Vesta as a means to assess the role of the large, relatively

We used Dawn spacecraft data to identify and delineate geological units and landforms in the Marcia quadrangle of Vesta as a means to assess the role of the large, relatively young impact craters Marcia (∼63 km diam.) and Calpurnia (∼53 km diam.) and their surrounding ejecta field on the local geology. We also investigated a local topographic high with a dark-rayed crater named Aricia Tholus, and the impact crater Octavia that is surrounded by a distinctive diffuse mantle. Crater counts and stratigraphic relations suggest that Marcia is the youngest large crater on Vesta, in which a putative impact melt on the crater floor ranges in age between ∼40 and 60 Ma (depending upon choice of chronology system), and Marcia’s ejecta blanket ranges in age between ∼120 and 390 Ma (depending upon choice of chronology system). We interpret the geologic units in and around Marcia crater to mark a major vestan time-stratigraphic event, and that the Marcia Formation is one of the geologically youngest formations on Vesta. Marcia crater reveals pristine bright and dark material in its walls and smooth and pitted terrains on its floor. The smooth unit we interpret as evidence of flow of impact melts and (for the pitted terrain) release of volatiles during or after the impact process. The distinctive dark ejecta surrounding craters Marcia and Calpurnia is enriched in OH- or H-bearing phases and has a variable morphology, suggestive of a complex mixture of impact ejecta and impact melts including dark materials possibly derived from carbonaceous chondrite-rich material. Aricia Tholus, which was originally interpreted as a putative vestan volcanic edifice based on lower resolution observations, appears to be a fragment of an ancient impact basin rim topped by a dark-rayed impact crater. Octavia crater has a cratering model formation age of ∼280–990 Ma based on counts of its ejecta field (depending upon choice of chronology system), and its ejecta field is the second oldest unit in this quadrangle. The relatively young craters and their related ejecta materials in this quadrangle are in stark contrast to the surrounding heavily cratered units that are related to the billion years old or older Rheasilvia and Veneneia impact basins and Vesta’s ancient crust preserved on Vestalia Terra.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2014-12-01

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Imprint of the Rheasilvia impact on Vesta - Geologic mapping of quadrangles Gegania and Lucaria

Description

We produced two 1:250,000 scale geologic maps of the adjacent quadrangles Av-6 Gegania and Av-7 Lucaria, located in the equatorial region of (4) Vesta (0–144°E, 22°S to 22°N). The mapping

We produced two 1:250,000 scale geologic maps of the adjacent quadrangles Av-6 Gegania and Av-7 Lucaria, located in the equatorial region of (4) Vesta (0–144°E, 22°S to 22°N). The mapping is based on clear and color filter images of the Framing Camera (FC) onboard the Dawn spacecraft, which has captured the entire illuminated surface of Vesta with high spatial resolution (up to ∼20 m/pixel), and on a digital terrain model derived from FC imagery. Besides the geologic mapping itself, a secondary purpose of this work is to investigate one of the most prominent morphological features on Vesta, namely the aggregation of several giant equatorial troughs termed the Divalia Fossae, most probably formed during the Rheasilvia impact near Vesta’s south pole. The up to 465 km long and 22 km wide troughs show height differences of up to 5 km between adjacent troughs and ridges. Another imprint of the Rheasilvia impact is the >350 km long and ∼250 km wide swath of ejecta crossing quadrangle Av-6 Gegania. This lobe shows a distinct appearance in FC color ratios and a high albedo in FC images, indicating a mineralogical similarity to material typically found within the Rheasilvia basin, in particular composed of diogenite-rich howardites. Almost the entire northern half of the mapping area shows the oldest surface, being dominated by upper crustal basaltic material. To the south, increasingly younger formations related to the Rheasilvia impact occur, either indicated by the troughs formed by Rheasilvia or by the Rheasilvia ejecta itself. Only medium sized impact craters with diameters less than 22 km occur within the two mapped quadrangles. Some of the craters exhibit ejecta blankets and/or distinctly dark or bright ejecta material in ejecta rays outside and exposures within the crater, and mass-wasting deposits down crater slopes, forming the youngest surfaces.

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Date Created
  • 2014-12-01

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Geologic mapping of ejecta deposits in Oppia Quadrangle, Asteroid (4) Vesta

Description

Oppia Quadrangle Av-10 (288–360°E, ±22°) is a junction of key geologic features that preserve a rough history of Asteroid (4) Vesta and serves as a case study of using geologic

Oppia Quadrangle Av-10 (288–360°E, ±22°) is a junction of key geologic features that preserve a rough history of Asteroid (4) Vesta and serves as a case study of using geologic mapping to define a relative geologic timescale. Clear filter images, stereo-derived topography, slope maps, and multispectral color-ratio images from the Framing Camera on NASA’s Dawn spacecraft served as basemaps to create a geologic map and investigate the spatial and temporal relationships of the local stratigraphy. Geologic mapping reveals the oldest map unit within Av-10 is the cratered highlands terrain which possibly represents original crustal material on Vesta that was then excavated by one or more impacts to form the basin Feralia Planitia. Saturnalia Fossae and Divalia Fossae ridge and trough terrains intersect the wall of Feralia Planitia indicating that this impact basin is older than both the Veneneia and Rheasilvia impact structures, representing Pre-Veneneian crustal material. Two of the youngest geologic features in Av-10 are Lepida (∼45 km diameter) and Oppia (∼40 km diameter) impact craters that formed on the northern and southern wall of Feralia Planitia and each cross-cuts a trough terrain. The ejecta blanket of Oppia is mapped as ‘dark mantle’ material because it appears dark orange in the Framing Camera ‘Clementine-type’ color-ratio image and has a diffuse, gradational contact distributed to the south across the rim of Rheasilvia. Mapping of surface material that appears light orange in color in the Framing Camera ‘Clementine-type’ color-ratio image as ‘light mantle material’ supports previous interpretations of an impact ejecta origin. Some light mantle deposits are easily traced to nearby source craters, but other deposits may represent distal ejecta deposits (emplaced >5 crater radii away) in a microgravity environment.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2014-12-01

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Geologic map of the northern hemisphere of Vesta based on Dawn Framing Camera (FC) images

Description

The Dawn Framing Camera (FC) has imaged the northern hemisphere of the Asteroid (4) Vesta at high spatial resolution and coverage. This study represents the first investigation of the overall

The Dawn Framing Camera (FC) has imaged the northern hemisphere of the Asteroid (4) Vesta at high spatial resolution and coverage. This study represents the first investigation of the overall geology of the northern hemisphere (22–90°N, quadrangles Av-1, 2, 3, 4 and 5) using these unique Dawn mission observations. We have compiled a morphologic map and performed crater size–frequency distribution (CSFD) measurements to date the geologic units. The hemisphere is characterized by a heavily cratered surface with a few highly subdued basins up to ∼200 km in diameter. The most widespread unit is a plateau (cratered highland unit), similar to, although of lower elevation than the equatorial Vestalia Terra plateau. Large-scale troughs and ridges have regionally affected the surface. Between ∼180°E and ∼270°E, these tectonic features are well developed and related to the south pole Veneneia impact (Saturnalia Fossae trough unit), elsewhere on the hemisphere they are rare and subdued (Saturnalia Fossae cratered unit). In these pre-Rheasilvia units we observed an unexpectedly high frequency of impact craters up to ∼10 km in diameter, whose formation could in part be related to the Rheasilvia basin-forming event. The Rheasilvia impact has potentially affected the northern hemisphere also with S–N small-scale lineations, but without covering it with an ejecta blanket. Post-Rheasilvia impact craters are small (<60 km in diameter) and show a wide range of degradation states due to impact gardening and mass wasting processes. Where fresh, they display an ejecta blanket, bright rays and slope movements on walls. In places, crater rims have dark material ejecta and some crater floors are covered by ponded material interpreted as impact melt.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2014-12-01

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Geomorphology and structural geology of Saturnalia Fossae and adjacent structures in the northern hemisphere of Vesta

Description

Vesta is a unique, intermediate class of rocky body in the Solar System, between terrestrial planets and small asteroids, because of its size (average radius of ∼263 km) and differentiation,

Vesta is a unique, intermediate class of rocky body in the Solar System, between terrestrial planets and small asteroids, because of its size (average radius of ∼263 km) and differentiation, with a crust, mantle and core. Vesta’s low surface gravity (0.25 m/s[superscript 2]) has led to the continual absence of a protective atmosphere and consequently impact cratering and impact-related processes are prevalent. Previous work has shown that the formation of the Rheasilvia impact basin induced the equatorial Divalia Fossae, whereas the formation of the Veneneia impact basin induced the northern Saturnalia Fossae. Expanding upon this earlier work, we conducted photogeologic mapping of the Saturnalia Fossae, adjacent structures and geomorphic units in two of Vesta’s northern quadrangles: Caparronia and Domitia. Our work indicates that impact processes created and/or modified all mapped structures and geomorphic units. The mapped units, ordered from oldest to youngest age based mainly on cross-cutting relationships, are: (1) Vestalia Terra unit, (2) cratered highlands unit, (3) Saturnalia Fossae trough unit, (4) Saturnalia Fossae cratered unit, (5) undifferentiated ejecta unit, (6) dark lobate unit, (7) dark crater ray unit and (8) lobate crater unit. The Saturnalia Fossae consist of five separate structures: Saturnalia Fossa A is the largest (maximum width of ∼43 km) and is interpreted as a graben, whereas Saturnalia Fossa B-E are smaller (maximum width of ∼15 km) and are interpreted as half grabens formed by synthetic faults. Smaller, second-order structures (maximum width of <1 km) are distinguished from the Saturnalia Fossae, a first-order structure, by the use of the general descriptive term ‘adjacent structures’, which encompasses minor ridges, grooves and crater chains. For classification purposes, the general descriptive term ‘minor ridges’ characterizes ridges that are not part of the Saturnalia Fossae and are an order of magnitude smaller (maximum width of <1 km vs. maximum width of ∼43 km). Shear deformation resulting from the large-scale (diameter of <100 km) Rheasilvia impact is proposed to form minor ridges (∼2 km to ∼25 km in length), which are interpreted as the surface expression of thrust faults, as well as grooves (∼3 km to ∼25 km in length) and pit crater chains (∼1 km to ∼25 km in length), which are interpreted as the surface expression of extension fractures and/or dilational normal faults. Secondary crater material, ejected from small-scale and medium-scale impacts (diameters of <100 km), are interpreted to form ejecta ray systems of grooves and crater chains by bouncing and scouring across the surface. Furthermore, seismic shaking, also resulting from small-scale and medium-scale impacts, is interpreted to form minor ridges because seismic shaking induces flow of regolith, which subsequently accumulates as minor ridges that are roughly parallel to the regional slope. In this work we expand upon the link between impact processes and structural features on Vesta by presenting findings of a photogeologic, structural mapping study which highlights how impact cratering and impact-related processes are expressed on this unique, intermediate Solar System body.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2014-01-29

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Lobate and flow-like features on asteroid Vesta

Description

We studied high-resolution images of asteroid Vesta's surface (~70 and 20–25 m/pixel) obtained during the High- and Low-Altitude Mapping Orbits (HAMO, LAMO) of NASA's Dawn mission to assess the formation

We studied high-resolution images of asteroid Vesta's surface (~70 and 20–25 m/pixel) obtained during the High- and Low-Altitude Mapping Orbits (HAMO, LAMO) of NASA's Dawn mission to assess the formation mechanisms responsible for a variety of lobate, flow-like features observed across the surface. We searched for evidence of volcanic flows, based on prior mathematical modeling and the well-known basaltic nature of Vesta's crust, but no unequivocal morphologic evidence of ancient volcanic activity has thus far been identified. Rather, we find that all lobate, flow-like features on Vesta appear to be related either to impact or erosional processes. Morphologically distinct lobate features occur in and around impact craters, and most of these are interpreted as impact ejecta flows, or possibly flows of impact melt. Estimates of melt production from numerical models and scaling laws suggests that large craters like Marcia (~60 km diameter) could have potentially produced impact melt volumes ranging from tens of millions of cubic meters to a few tens of cubic kilometers, which are relatively small volumes compared to similar-sized lunar craters, but which are consistent with putative impact melt features observed in Dawn images. There are also examples of lobate flows that trend downhill both inside and outside of crater rims and basin scarps, which are interpreted as the result of gravity-driven mass movements (slumps and landslides).

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Created

Date Created
  • 2014-11-15