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The Production of Small Primary Craters on Mars and the Moon

Status Report From: arXiv.org e-Print archive
Posted: Sunday, September 15, 2013

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We model the primary crater production of small (D < 100 m) primary craters on Mars and the Moon using the observed annual flux of terrestrial fireballs. From the size-frequency distribution (SFD) of meteor diameters, with appropriate velocity distributions for Mars and the Moon, we are able to reproduce martian and lunar crater-count chronometry systems (isochrons) in both slope and magnitude. We include an atmospheric model for Mars that accounts for the deceleration, ablation, and fragmentation of meteors. We find that the details of the atmosphere or the fragmentation of the meteors do not strongly influence our results. The downturn in the crater SFD from atmospheric filtering is predicted to occur at D ~ 10-20 cm, well below the downturn observed in the distribution of fresh craters detected by the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) or the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) Context Camera (CTX). Crater counts conducted on the ejecta blanket of Zunil crater on Mars and North Ray crater on the Moon yielded crater SFDs with similar slopes and ages (~1 Ma, and ~58 Ma, respectively) to our model, indicating that the average cratering rate has been constant on these bodies over these time periods. Since our Monte Carlo simulations demonstrate that the existing crater chronology systems can be applied to date young surfaces using small craters on the Moon and Mars, we conclude that the signal from secondary craters in the isochrons must be relatively small, as our Monte Carlo model only generates primary craters.

Jean-Pierre Williams, Asmin V. Pathare, Oded Aharonson (Submitted on 11 Sep 2013)

Comments: Under review with Icarus

Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP)

Cite as: arXiv:1309.2849 [astro-ph.EP]

(or arXiv:1309.2849v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version) Submission history From: Edwin Kite [v1] Wed, 11 Sep 2013 15:03:12 GMT (1560kb)

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