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The chronostratigraphy of protoplanet Vesta

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In this paper we present a time-stratigraphic scheme and geologic time scale for the protoplanet Vesta, based on global geologic mapping and other analyses of NASA Dawn spacecraft data, complemented

In this paper we present a time-stratigraphic scheme and geologic time scale for the protoplanet Vesta, based on global geologic mapping and other analyses of NASA Dawn spacecraft data, complemented by insights gained from laboratory studies of howardite–eucrite–diogenite (HED) meteorites and geophysical modeling. On the basis of prominent impact structures and their associated deposits, we propose a time scale for Vesta that consists of four geologic time periods: Pre-Veneneian, Veneneian, Rheasilvian, and Marcian. The Pre-Veneneian Period covers the time from the formation of Vesta up to the Veneneia impact event, from 4.6 Ga to >2.1 Ga (using the asteroid flux-derived chronology system) or from 4.6 Ga to 3.7 Ga (under the lunar-derived chronology system). The Veneneian Period covers the time span between the Veneneia and Rheasilvia impact events, from >2.1 to 1 Ga (asteroid flux-derived chronology) or from 3.7 to 3.5 Ga (lunar-derived chronology), respectively. The Rheasilvian Period covers the time span between the Rheasilvia and Marcia impact events, and the Marcian Period covers the time between the Marcia impact event until the present. The age of the Marcia impact is still uncertain, but our current best estimates from crater counts of the ejecta blanket suggest an age between ∼120 and 390 Ma, depending upon choice of chronology system used. Regardless, the Marcia impact represents the youngest major geologic event on Vesta. Our proposed four-period geologic time scale for Vesta is, to a first order, comparable to those developed for other airless terrestrial bodies.

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  • 2014-12-01

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Morphology and formation ages of mid-sized post-Rheasilvia craters - Geology of quadrangle Tuccia, Vesta

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A variety of geologic landforms and features are observed within quadrangle Av-13 Tuccia in the southern hemisphere of Vesta. The quadrangle covers parts of the highland Vestalia Terra as well

A variety of geologic landforms and features are observed within quadrangle Av-13 Tuccia in the southern hemisphere of Vesta. The quadrangle covers parts of the highland Vestalia Terra as well as the floors of the large Rheasilvia and Veneneia impact basins, which results in a substantial elevation difference of more than 40 km between the northern and the southern portions of the quadrangle. Measurements of crater size–frequency distributions within and surrounding the Rheasilvia basin indicate that gravity-driven mass wasting in the interior of the basin has been important, and that the basin has a more ancient formation age than would be expected from the crater density on the basin floor alone. Subsequent to its formation, Rheasilvia was superimposed by several mid-sized impact craters. The most prominent craters are Tuccia, Eusebia, Vibidia, Galeria, and Antonia, whose geology and formation ages are investigated in detail in this work. These impact structures provide a variety of morphologies indicating different sorts of subsequent impact-related or gravity-driven mass wasting processes. Understanding the geologic history of the relatively young craters in the Rheasilvia basin is important in order to understand the even more degraded craters in other regions of Vesta.

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  • 2014-12-01

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Mass movement on Vesta at steep scarps and crater rims

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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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  • 2014-12-01