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Crater Counting Chronologies ● Planetary radius determines the duration over which radioactive decay can maintain geological activity. Crater density on.

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Presentation on theme: "Crater Counting Chronologies ● Planetary radius determines the duration over which radioactive decay can maintain geological activity. Crater density on."— Presentation transcript:

1 Crater Counting Chronologies ● Planetary radius determines the duration over which radioactive decay can maintain geological activity. Crater density on a surface is a proxy for “age” presuming you know the local impact rate as a function of time.

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3 Highlands vs. Maria / “Old” vs. “Young” “age” = time since last resurfacing

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6 Lunar Elevations Blue = low Red = high

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8 Cratering Isochrons ● The degree to which a surface is cratered depends on... – you tell me...

9 Cratering Isochrons ● The degree to which a surface is cratered depends on... – you tell me... In the end we identified impactor kinetic energy vs. crater size as the “microphysics” - so we worked out 1/2mv^2 for a typical asteroid and encounter velocities based on various escape velocities, getting up to 80 km/s for a head on collision between Earth and a comet with resulting kinetic energy of 10^22 J for a 1 km radius object. On the macro scale we talked about two things - size spectrum of a collisionally evolved population – few big chunks and lots of powder. - evolution of the net rate over time – cleaning up of the solar system.

10 A Natural Evolution of Cratering Rate

11 Crater Size vs. Energy

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13 Cratering Mechanics

14 Cratering Mechanics

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16 Ejecta

17 Secondary Craters

18 Complex Craters

19 Multi-ring Basins Mare Orientale – Earth's Moon Valhalla Basin – Jupiter's Moon Callisto

20 Saturation

21 Crater Counts vs. Size vs. Surface “Age” ● Craters accumulate over time on a “fresh” surface. ● Eventually the crater density saturates ● Large impacts can also produce large numbers of secondary craters. Lunar Highlands Lunar Maria

22 Scaling to other Worlds (isn't easy) ● We have the advantage of being able to radiometrically date lunar samples – thus providing an absolute age scale for the lunar crater isochrons. ● We don't know how the cratering rate varies throughout the solar system, so other cratering chronologies are relative.

23 Scaling to other Worlds (isn't easy) ● We have the advantage of being able to radiometrically date lunar samples – thus providing an absolute age scale for the lunar crater isochrons. ● We don't know how the cratering rate varies throughout the solar system, so other cratering chronologies are relative.

24 Scaling to other Worlds (isn't easy) ● We have the advantage of being able to radiometrically date lunar samples – thus providing an absolute age scale for the lunar crater isochrons. ● We don't know how the cratering rate varies throughout the solar system, so other cratering chronologies are relative.

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30 Vesta Crater Counts

31 Timeline of Martian Volcanism A crater-count study on Mars dates the calderas on 20 major volcanoes. High-resolution images from the Context Camera (CTX), onboard NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, allow a larger range of crater sizes than were ever used before. The timing of the last major summit eruptions correlates well with the crystallization ages (~ million years) of the youngest basaltic Martian meteorites.

32 Timeline of Martian Volcanism – Olympus Mons Six calderas on Olympus Mons show ages ranging from about million years.

33 Timeline of Martian Volcanism – Elysium Mons Three calderas on Elysium Mons show ages around 3 billion years.

34 Timeline of Martian Volcanism and Meteorites After Apollinaris Mons shut off, major volcanism ended throughout the highlands and Syrtis Major, then in the smaller Elysium volcanoes, and finally in the largest of the Tharsis volcanoes. Martian meteorites a few 100 million years old likely came from the younger flows of the Tharsis Montes.

35 Evolution and Origin of the Size Distribution of Asteroids

36 Evolution of the Size Distribution of Asteroids

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38 Late Heavy Bombardment and the “Lunar Cataclysm” Lunar Impact Basin Chronology

39 Results of the “Nice” Model Uranus Neptune


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