Martian impact crater ejecta morphologies as indicators of the distribution of subsurface volatiles

Nadine Barlow, Carola B. Perez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

82 Scopus citations


Fresh Martian impact craters display a variety of ejecta blanket morphologies. The fluidized appearance of most fresh ejecta type is commonly ascribed to heating and vaporization of subsurface volatiles during crater formation. We have conducted a study of the distribution of the three dominant fluidized ejecta morphologies (single layer ejecta (SLE), double layer ejecta (DLE), and multiple layer ejecta (MLE)) within the ±60° latitude zone on Mars. We have subdivided this region into 5° × 5° latitude-longitude boxes and have computed the following for each box: (1) percentage of craters showing any ejecta morphology as a function of total number of craters, (2) percentage of SLE craters as a function of craters with an ejecta morphology, (3) percentage of DLE craters as a function of craters with an ejecta morphology, and (4) percentage of MLE craters as a function of craters with an ejecta morphology. We confirm previous reports that the SLE morphology is the most common ejecta type within the study area, constituting >70% of all ejecta morphologies over most of the study area. The DLE and MLE morphologies are much less common, but these morphologies are concentrated in localized regions of the planet. Using these results, we discuss how subsurface volatile reservoirs may be distributed across the planet. The regional variations found in this study generally correlate with the proposed locations of near-surface H2O reservoirs detected by Mars Odyssey.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4-1
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research E: Planets
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 25 2003



  • Crater ejecta
  • Mars
  • Martian craters
  • Martian volatiles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Geophysics
  • Oceanography
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics

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