Martian Low-Aspect-Ratio Layered Ejecta (LARLE) craters: Distribution, characteristics, and relationship to pedestal craters

Nadine G. Barlow, Joseph M. Boyce, Carin Cornwall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Scopus citations

Abstract

Low-Aspect-Ratio Layered Ejecta (LARLE) craters are a unique landform found on Mars. LARLE craters are characterized by a crater and normal layered ejecta pattern surrounded by an extensive but thin outer deposit which terminates in a sinuous, almost flame-like morphology. We have conducted a survey to identify all LARLE craters ≥1-km-diameter within the ±75° latitude zone and to determine their morphologic and morphometric characteristics. The survey reveals 140 LARLE craters, with the majority (91%) located poleward of 40°S and 35°N and all occurring within thick mantles of fine-grained deposits which are likely ice-rich. LARLE craters range in diameter from the cut-off limit of 1. km up to 12.2. km, with 83% being smaller than 5. km. The radius of the outer LARLE deposit displays a linear trend with the crater radius and is greatest at higher polar latitudes. The LARLE deposit ranges in length between 2.56 and 14.81 crater radii in average extent, with maximum length extending up to 21.4 crater radii. The LARLE layer is very sinuous, with lobateness values ranging between 1.45 and 4.35. LARLE craters display a number of characteristics in common with pedestal craters and we propose that pedestal craters are eroded versions of LARLE craters. The distribution and characteristics of the LARLE craters lead us to propose that impact excavation into ice-rich fine-grained deposits produces a dusty base surge cloud (like those produced by explosion craters) that deposits dust and ice particles to create the LARLE layers. Salts emplaced by upward migration of water through the LARLE deposit produce a surficial duricrust layer which protects the deposit from immediate removal by eolian processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)186-200
Number of pages15
JournalIcarus
Volume239
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2014

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Keywords

  • Cratering
  • Geological processes
  • Impact processes
  • Mars, surface

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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