The University of Arizona

Impact craters in the northern hemisphere of Mars: Layered ejecta and central pit characteristics

Nadine G. Barlow


Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) and Mars Odyssey data are being used to revise the Catalog of Large Martian Impact Craters. Analysis of data in the revised catalog provides new details on the distribution and morphologic details of 6795 impact craters in the northern hemisphere of Mars. This report focuses on the ejecta morphologies and central pit characteristics of these craters. The results indicate that single-layer ejecta (SLE) morphology is most consistent with impact into an ice-rich target. Double-layer ejecta (DLE) and multiple-layer ejecta (MLE) craters also likely form in volatile-rich materials, but the interaction of the ejecta curtain and target-produced vapor with the thin Martian atmosphere may be responsible for the large runout distances of these ejecta. Pancake craters appear to be a modified form of double-layer craters where the thin outer layer has been destroyed or is unobservable at present resolutions. Pedestal craters are proposed to form in an ice-rich mantle deposited during high obliquity periods from which the ice has subsequently sublimated. Central pits likely form by the release of vapor produced by impact into ice-soil mixed targets. Therefore, results from the present study are consistent with target volatiles playing a dominant role in the formation of crater morphologies found in the Martian northern hemisphere.


Impact craters;Martian water;Impact structure;Impact;ejecta

Full Text: