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Martian pedestal craters: Marginal sublimation pits implicate a climate-related formation mechanism

Kadish, Seth J. and Head, James W. and Barlow, Nadine G. and Marchant, David R. (2008) Martian pedestal craters: Marginal sublimation pits implicate a climate-related formation mechanism. Geophysical Research Letters, 35 (16). L16104. ISSN 1944-8007


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Publisher’s or external URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2008GL034990


Pedestal craters on Mars are defined by an outward-facing scarp forming a plateau perched tens of meters above the surrounding terrain. Their origin has been attributed to impact armoring of the surface and subsequent removal of inter-crater terrain by either eolian deflation or sublimation of an ice-rich substrate. We identified 2696 pedestal craters between 60N and 60S latitude; 98% are poleward of 33N and 40S. The majority of pedestal crater margins are smoothly sloped, but 3%, concentrated in Utopia Planitia and Malea Planurn, display distinctive marginal pits. These pedestal crater scarps are anomalously tall (usually >80-100 m) and the pits resemble sublimation depressions seen on Earth and elsewhere on Mars, providing evidence for sublimation of volatiles in the scarp, where the armored surface has tapered. The pitted scarps provide insight into the origin of the general pedestal crater population, favoring formation via deposition of a volatile-rich substrate, impact armoring, and sublimation of intervening volatiles. Crater densities and overlapping pedestal craters suggest multiple periods of emplacement and loss of these climate-related, latitude-dependent deposits throughout the Amazonian.

Item Type: Article
Publisher’s Statement: ©2008. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.
ID number or DOI: 10.1029/2008GL034990
Keywords: Forming; ice; Mars; near-surface; rich deposits; sublimation
Subjects: Q Science > QB Astronomy
NAU Depositing Author Academic Status: Faculty/Staff
Department/Unit: College of Engineering, Forestry, and Natural Science > Physics and Astronomy
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2015 15:35
URI: http://openknowledge.nau.edu/id/eprint/727

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