An Assessment of Regional Variations in Martian Modified Impact Crater Morphology(Article)

Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets

Journal Article

Impact craters on Mars have been extensively modified by ancient geologic processes that may have included rainfall and surface runoff, snow and ice, denudation by lava flows, burial by eolian material, or others. Many of these processes can leave distinct signatures on the morphometry of the modified impact crater as well as the surrounding landscape. To look for signs of potential regional differences in crater modification processes, we conducted an analysis of different morphometric parameters related to modified impact craters located in the Margaritifer Sinus, Sinus Sabaeus, Iapygia, Mare Tyrrhenum, Aeolis, and Eridania quadrangles, including depth, crater wall slope, crater floor slope, the curvature between the interior wall and the crater floor slope, and the curvature between the interior wall and surrounding landscape. A Welch's t test analysis comparing these parameters shows that fresh impact craters (Type 4) have consistent morphologies regardless of their geographic location examined in this study, which is not unexpected. Modified impact craters both in the initial (Type 3) and terminal stages (Type 1) of modification also have statistically consistent morphologies. This would suggest that the processes that operated in the late Noachian were globally ubiquitous, and that modified craters eventually reached a stable crater morphology. However, craters preserved in advanced (but not terminal) stages of modification (Type 2) have morphologies that vary across the quadrangles. It is possible that these variations reflect spatial differences in the types and intensity of geologic processes that operated during the Noachian, implying that the ancient climate also varied across regions. ©2018. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.

R.A. Craddock

A.D. Howard


Year of publication: 2018


ISSN: 21699097


DOI: 10.1002/2017JE005412

Alternative Titles