Geologic mapping of Vesta

R. A. Yingst, S. C. Mest, D. C. Berman, W. B. Garry, David Williams, D. Buczkowski, R. Jaumann, C. M. Pieters, M. C. De Sanctis, A. Frigeri, L. Le Corre, F. Preusker, C. A. Raymond, V. Reddy, C. T. Russell, T. Roatsch, P. M. Schenk

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Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2-23
Number of pages22
JournalPlanetary and Space Science
Volume103
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 15 2014

Keywords

  • Dawn
  • Geologic mapping
  • Vesta

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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    Yingst, R. A., Mest, S. C., Berman, D. C., Garry, W. B., Williams, D., Buczkowski, D., Jaumann, R., Pieters, C. M., De Sanctis, M. C., Frigeri, A., Le Corre, L., Preusker, F., Raymond, C. A., Reddy, V., Russell, C. T., Roatsch, T., & Schenk, P. M. (2014). Geologic mapping of Vesta. Planetary and Space Science, 103, 2-23. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pss.2013.12.014