Grosfils Ponders Pit Chain Patterns
In a 2013 Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences paper Prof. Grosfils — with colleagues Sarah Davey (first author), Richard Ernst, and Claire Samson (all at Carleton University) — presents an analysis of pit crater chain clustering in selected areas of Venus in an effort to improve our understanding of the volcanic and/or tectonic conditions under which pit crater chains form. After comparing pit crater chain morphologies and clustering characteristics with mapped structures and geomorphological units in areas such as the Ganiki Planitia (V-14) quadrangle, mapped previously with the aid of Pomona College geology students and other colleagues (Grosfils et al., 2011), we propose that pit craters form above extensional graben covered with friable, most likely volcaniclastic material. While this hypothesis requires further testing, our results are quite exciting as it is difficult to detect such materials on Venus using available Magellan radar data. If the proposed link between surface materials and pit crater chains can be confirmed, it would yield a powerful new tool for advancing our understanding of Venusian volcanism and contribute to our general understanding of pit crater chains: an enigmatic feature observed on numerous planets and moons in the inner and outer solar system.
For more information: Hierarchical clustering of pit crater chains on Venus
Students: Want to get involved in planetary research? Please stop by!