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Mineralogy of Marcia, the youngest large crater of Vesta: Character and distribution of pyroxenes and hydrated material

  • Author(s): De Sanctis, MC;
  • Frigeri, A;
  • Ammannito, E;
  • Tosi, F;
  • Marchi, S;
  • Zambon, F;
  • Raymond, CA;
  • Russell, CT
  • et al.

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The young Marcia crater on Vesta displays several interesting features, including pitted and smooth terrains, exposure of relatively bright and dark material, and enrichments of hydrated material in the ejecta. Several questions arise about the origin of Marcia and of the dark material (exogenic material vs volcanic or impact melts) and the smooth and pitted terrains. Here we describe the results of the spectral and thermal analysis of the Marcia crater, with a particular effort to assess the composition of the different units, identifying the presence of OH and its correlation with dark material. Detailed studies of the Marcia crater wall, smooth and floor units reveal a compositional rich terrain with small areas enriched in diogenites with respect to the general eucritic regolith dominating the equatorial region of Vesta. The signature of OH is particularly clear in the pitted floor, dark material, smooth unit, and ejecta. The pitted terrains, beside their appearance, also show thermal anomalies, being colder with respect to the surrounding terrains. The presence of OH, concentrated in darker layers, and the pitted crater floor indicate that the area where the Marcia impact event occurred was rich in volatiles. The results show how the relatively young impact events have modified the surface of Vesta, disrupting a layer of dark material once present on Vesta's equatorial terrain and exposing fresh, bright material rich in pyroxene.

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