Ritchey (Martian crater)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Ritchey
Ritchey Crater.JPG
Ritchey Crater layers, as seen by HiRISE. The dark cap layer seems to be resistant to erosion, while the white middle layer is weak. Click on image to see more details. Scale bar is 500 meters long.
Planet Mars
Coordinates 28°48′S 51°00′W / 28.8°S 51°W / -28.8; -51Coordinates: 28°48′S 51°00′W / 28.8°S 51°W / -28.8; -51
Diameter 79 km
Eponym George W. Ritchey, an American astronomer (1864-1945)

Ritchey Crater is a crater in the Coprates quadrangle on Mars, located at 28.8° South and 51° West. It is 79 km in diameter and was named after George W. Ritchey, an American astronomer (1864-1945).[1]

It formed later than the Noachian period. Pictures form HiRISE show that the central peak has massive bedrock and megabreccia with large clasts.[2]

Ritchey Crater is interesting to scientists because it displays several different layers. A dark layer at the top forms a cap rock that protects the underlying layers from erosion. Under this hard, dark layer is a softer, light-toned rock, that breaks into small boulders. The layers might be formed of volcanic ash, lake or stream deposits, or sand dunes.[3] Fluvial channels and fan deposit are common on and along the walls.[4]

Clay minerals have been found in Ritchy.[5] These minerals indicate that water was present for a time. Evidence of smectite clay was found around the central uplift of the crater in a geologic unit that was probably formed as a consequence of the impact. The heat of the impact allowed liquid water to be present long enough to turn minerals into clay. Because Ritchey is Hesperian or younger in age this means that liquid water could have existed at various times in Martian history. Clay minerals were also found in the crater wall, crater floor, and fan deposits but it is not clear when they might have been produced. These minerals could have formed in place, transported from another location, or have been come from erosion of preexisting clays. However, there is spectral evidence that at least some of the clays in the crater floor and fan deposits came from the crater wall.[6]

Hydrated silica, maybe in the form of hydrated opaline silica has been detected at the central uplift.[7] Also, Olivine, Low calcium pyroxene and plagioclase have recently been detected there, as well. [8]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://planetarynames.wr.usgs.gov/
  2. ^ Ding, N., V. Brayb, A. McEwen, S. Mattson, C. Okubo, M. Chojnacki, L. Tornabene, 2015. The central uplift of Ritchey crater, Mars. Icarus: 252, 255-270.
  3. ^ http://hirise.lpl.arizona.edu/PSP_003249_1510
  4. ^ Sun, V., and R. Milliken. 2014. The geology and mineralogy of Ritchey crater, Mars: Evidence for post-Noachian clay formation, J. Geophys. Res:119, 810-836, doi: 10.1002/2013JE004602.
  5. ^ Milliken, R., et al. 2010. The case for mixed-layered clays on Mars, Lunar Planet. Sci. XLI, Abstract 2030
  6. ^ Sun, V., and R. Milliken. 2014. The geology and mineralogy of Ritchey crater, Mars: Evidence for post-Noachian clay formation, J. Geophys. Res:119, 810-836, doi: 10.1002/2013JE004602.
  7. ^ Milliken, R., et al. 2008. Opaline silica in young deposits on Mars, Geology, 36(11), 847–850, doi:10.1130/G24967A.1.
  8. ^ Ding, N., V. Brayb, A. McEwen, S. Mattson, C. Okubo, M. Chojnacki, L. Tornabene, 2015. The central uplift of Ritchey crater, Mars. Icarus: 252, 255-270.