Geology of 243 Ida

R. Sullivan, R. Greeley, R. Pappalardo, E. Asphaug, J. M. Moore, D. Morrison, M. J.S. Belton, M. Carr, C. R. Chapman, P. Geissler, R. Greenberg, James Granahan, J. W. Head, R. Kirk, A. McEwen, P. Lee, P. C. Thomas, J. Veverka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

133 Scopus citations


The surface of 243 Ida is dominated by the effects of impacts. No complex crater morphologies are observed. A complete range of crater degradation states is present, which also reveals optical maturation of the surface (darkening and reddening of materials with increasing exposure age). Regions of bright material associated with the freshest craters might be ballistically emplaced deposits or the result of seismic disturbance of loosely-bound surface materials. Diameter/depth ratios for fresh craters on Ida are ∼1:6.5, similar to Gaspra results, but greater than the 1:5 ratios common on other rocky bodies. Contributing causes include rim degradation by whole-body "ringing," relatively thin ejecta blankets around crater rims, or an extended strength gradient in near-surface materials due to low gravitational self-packing. Grooves probably represent expressions in surface debris of reactivated fractures in the deeper interior. Isolated positive relief features as large as 150 m are probably ejecta blocks related to large impacts. Evidence for the presence of debris on the surface includes resolved ejecta blocks, mass-wasting scars, contrasts in color and albedo of fresh crater materials, and albedo streaks oriented down local slopes. Color data indicate relatively uniform calcium abundance in pyroxenes and constant pyroxene/olivine ratio. A large, relatively blue unit across the northern polar area is probably related to regolith processes involving ejecta from Azzurra rather than representing internal compositional heterogeneity. A small number of bluer, brighter craters are randomly distributed across the surface, unlike on Gaspra where these features are concentrated along ridges. This implies that debris on Ida is less mobile and/or consistently thicker than on Gaspra. Estimates of the average depth of mobile materials derived from chute depths (20-60 m), grooves (≥30 m), and shallowing of the largest degraded craters (20-50 m minimum, ∼100 m maximum) suggest a thickness of potentially mobile materials of ∼50 m, and a typical thickness for the debris layer of 50-100 m.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)119-139
Number of pages21
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1996
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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