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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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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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Created

Date Created
  • 2014-12-01