Matching Items (7)

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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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Created

Date Created
  • 2014-12-01

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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 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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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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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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Created

Date Created
  • 2014-11-15

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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).

Contributors

Created

Date Created
  • 2014-11-15