Martian subsurface properties and crater formation processes inferred from fresh impact crater geometries
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CitationStewart, S. T., & Valiant, G. J. (2006). Martian subsurface properties and crater formation processes inferred from fresh impact crater geometries. Meteoritics & Planetary Science, 41(10), 1509-1537.
PublisherThe Meteoritical Society
JournalMeteoritics & Planetary Science
DescriptionFrom the proceedings of the Workshop on the Role of Volatiles and Atmospheres on Martian Impact Craters held on July 11-14, 2005, at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory.
AbstractThe geometry of simple impact craters reflects the properties of the target materials, and the diverse range of fluidized morphologies observed in Martian ejecta blankets are controlled by the near-surface composition and the climate at the time of impact.Using the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) data set, quantitative information about the strength of the upper crust and the dynamics of Martian ejecta blankets may be derived from crater geometry measurements. Here, we present the results fromgeometrical measurements of fresh craters 3-50 km in rim diameter in selected highland (Lunae and Solis Plana) and lowland (Acidalia, Isidis, and Utopia Planitiae) terrains. We find large, resolved differences between the geometrical properties of the freshest highland and lowland craters. Simple lowland craters are 1.5-2.0 times deeper (greater than or equal to 5-sigma difference) with >50% larger cavities (greater than or equal to 2-sigma) compared to highland craters of the same diameter. Rim heights and the volume of material above the preimpact surface are slightly greater in the lowlands over most of the size range studied. The different shapes of simple highland and lowland craters indicate that the upper ~6.5 km of the lowland study regions are significantly stronger than the upper crust of the highland plateaus. Lowland craters collapse to final volumes of 45-70% of their transient cavity volumes, while highland craters preserve only 25-50%. The effective yield strength of the upper crust in the lowland regions falls in the range of competent rock, approximately 9-12 MPa, and the highland plateaus may be weaker by a factor of 2 or more, consistent with heavily fractured Noachian layered deposits. The measured volumes of continuous ejecta blankets and uplifted surface materials exceed the predictions from standard crater scaling relationships and Maxwell's Z model of crater excavation by a factor of 3. The excess volume of fluidized ejecta blankets on Mars cannot be explained by concentration of ejecta through nonballistic emplacement processes and/or bulking. The observations require a modification of the scaling laws and are well fit using a scaling factor of ~1.4 between the transient crater surface diameter to the final crater rim diameter and excavation flow originating from one projectile diameter depth with Z = 2.7. The refined excavation model provides the first observationally constrained set of initial parameters for study of the formation of fluidized ejecta blankets on Mars.
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New impact-melt rock from the Roter Kamm impact structure, Namibia: Further constraints on impact age, melt rock chemistry, and projectile compositionHecht, L.; Reimold, W. U.; Sherlock, S.; Tagle, R.; Koeberl, C.; Schmitt, R.-T. (The Meteoritical Society, 2008-01-01)A new locality of in situ massive impact-melt rock was discovered on the southsouthwestern rim of the Roter Kamm impact structure. While the sub-samples from this new locality are relatively homogeneous at the hand specimen scale, and despite being from a nearby location, they do not have the same composition of the only previously analyzed impact-melt rock sample from Roter Kamm. Both Roter Kamm impact-melt rock samples analyzed to date, as well as several suevite samples, exhibit a granitic-granodioritic precursor composition. Micro-chemical analyses of glassy matrix and Al-rich orthopyroxene microphenocrysts demonstrate rapid cooling and chemical disequilibrium at small scales. Platinum-group element abundances and ratios indicate an ordinary chondritic composition for the Roter Kamm impactor. Laser argon dating of two sub-samples did not reproduce the previously obtained age of 3.7 +/- 0.3 (1-sigma) for this impact event, based on 40Ar/39Ar dating of a single vesicular impact-melt rock. Instead, we obtained ages between 3.9 and 6.3 Ma, with an inverse isochron age of 4.7 +/- 0.3 Ma for one analyzed sub-sample and 5.1 +/- 0.4 Ma for the other. Clearly a post-5 Ma impact at Roter Kamm remains indicated, but further analytical work is required to better constrain the currently best estimate of 4-5 Ma. Both impactor and age constraints are clearly obstructed by the inherent microscopic heterogeneity and disequilibrium melting and cooling processes demonstrated in the present study.
Facies distribution of post-impact sediments in the Ordovician Lockne and Tvaren impact craters: Indications for unique impact-generated environmentsFrisk, Å. M.; Ormö, J. (The Meteoritical Society, 2007-01-01)The Lockne and Tvären craters formed in the Late Ordovician Baltoscandian epicontinental sea. Both craters demonstrate similarities concerning near-synchronous age, target seabed, and succeeding resurge deposits; however, the water depths at the impact sites and the sizes of the craters were not alike. The post-impact sedimentary succession of carbonates, i.e., the Dalby Limestone, deposited on top of the resurge sediments in the two craters, is nevertheless similar. At least three main facies of the Dalby Limestone were established in the Lockne crater, depending on sea-floor topography, location with respect to the crater, and local water currents. The dominating nodular argillaceous facies, showing low values of inorganic carbon (IC), was distributed foremost in the deeper and quiet areas of the crater floor and depressions. At the crater rim, consisting of crushed crystalline basement ejecta, a rim facies with a reef-like fauna was established, most certainly due to topographical highs and substrate-derived nutrients. Between these facies are occurrences of a relatively thick-bedded calcilutite rich in cephalopods (cephalopod facies). In Tvären, the lower part of the succession consists of an analogous argillaceous facies, also showing similar low IC values as in Lockne, followed by calcareous mudstones with an increase of IC. Occasionally biocalcarenites with a distinctive fauna occur in the Tvären succession, probably originating as detritus from a facies developed on the rim. They are evident as peaks in IC and lows in organic carbon (Corg). The fauna in these biocalcarenites corresponds very well with those of erratic boulders derived from Tvären; moreover, they correspond to the rim facies of Lockne except for the inclusion of photosynthesizing algae, indicating shallower water at Tvären than Lockne. Consequently, we suggest equivalent distribution patterns for the carbonates of the Dalby Limestone in Lockne and Tvären.
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