The nature and emplacement of distal aqueous-rich ejecta deposits from Hale crater, Mars

John A. Grant, Sharon A. Wilson
Meteoritics & Planetary Science (in Press) Link to Article [DOI: 10.1111/maps.12843]
Center for Earth and Planetary Studies, Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Washington,District of Columbia 20560, USA
Published by Arrangement with John Wiley & Sons

Hale crater formed in the Early to Middle Amazonian and is one of the best preserved large craters on Mars. We focus on the emplacement of previously mapped distal continuous ejecta and newly recognized discontinuous distal ejecta deposits reaching up to 450 km northeast of Hale. The distal continuous ejecta deposits are typically tens of meters thick, likely water-rich, and subsequent dewatering of some resulted in flow along gradients of 10 m km-1 for distances of tens of kilometers. The discontinuous distal ejecta are typically <10 m thick with volumes generally <0.5 km3 and embay Hale secondaries, which occur up to ~600 km from Hale. Both continuous and discontinuous distal ejecta deposits are typically smooth at scales of tens to hundreds of meters, relatively dark-toned, devoid of eolian bedforms, inferred to be mostly fine-grained, and were likely emplaced within hours to 1–2 days after impact. The occurrence of well-preserved discontinuous distal ejecta at Hale is unusual compared to other large Martian craters and could be due to impact into an ice-rich substrate that enabled their formation and (or) their survival after minimal postimpact degradation relative to older craters. The pristine nature of distal continuous and discontinuous distal deposits at Hale and the preservation of associated secondaries imply (1) low erosion rates after the Hale impact, comparable to those estimated elsewhere during the Amazonian; (2) the impact did not significantly influence long-term global or regional scale geomorphic activity or climate; and (3) the Hale impact occurred after late alluvial fan activity in Margaritifer Terra.

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