Imprint of the Rheasilvia impact on Vesta - Geologic mapping of quadrangles Gegania and Lucaria

Michael Schäfer, Andreas Nathues, David A. Williams, David W. Mittlefehldt, Lucille Le Corre, Debra L. Buczkowski, Thomas Kneissl, Guneshwar S. Thangjam, Martin Hoffmann, Nico Schmedemann, Tanja Schäfer, Jennifer E.C. Scully, Jian Yang Li, Vishnu Reddy, W. Brent Garry, Katrin Krohn, R. Aileen Yingst, Robert W. Gaskell, Christopher T. Russell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


We produced two 1:250,000 scale geologic maps of the adjacent quadrangles Av-6 Gegania and Av-7 Lucaria, located in the equatorial region of (4) Vesta (0-144°E, 22°S to 22°N). The mapping is based on clear and color filter images of the Framing Camera (FC) onboard the Dawn spacecraft, which has captured the entire illuminated surface of Vesta with high spatial resolution (up to ~20. m/pixel), and on a digital terrain model derived from FC imagery. Besides the geologic mapping itself, a secondary purpose of this work is to investigate one of the most prominent morphological features on Vesta, namely the aggregation of several giant equatorial troughs termed the Divalia Fossae, most probably formed during the Rheasilvia impact near Vesta's south pole. The up to 465. km long and 22. km wide troughs show height differences of up to 5. km between adjacent troughs and ridges. Another imprint of the Rheasilvia impact is the >350. km long and ~250. km wide swath of ejecta crossing quadrangle Av-6 Gegania. This lobe shows a distinct appearance in FC color ratios and a high albedo in FC images, indicating a mineralogical similarity to material typically found within the Rheasilvia basin, in particular composed of diogenite-rich howardites. Almost the entire northern half of the mapping area shows the oldest surface, being dominated by upper crustal basaltic material. To the south, increasingly younger formations related to the Rheasilvia impact occur, either indicated by the troughs formed by Rheasilvia or by the Rheasilvia ejecta itself. Only medium sized impact craters with diameters less than 22. km occur within the two mapped quadrangles. Some of the craters exhibit ejecta blankets and/or distinctly dark or bright ejecta material in ejecta rays outside and exposures within the crater, and mass-wasting deposits down crater slopes, forming the youngest surfaces.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)60-73
Number of pages14
StatePublished - Dec 1 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Asteroid Vesta
  • Asteroids, surfaces
  • Geological processes
  • Impact processes
  • Tectonics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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