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The boulder population of asteroid 4 Vesta: Size-frequency distribution and survival time

Schröder, Stefan and Carsenty, Uri and Hauber, Ernst and Schulzeck, Franziska and Raymond, C. A. and Russell, C. T. (2020) The boulder population of asteroid 4 Vesta: Size-frequency distribution and survival time. Earth and Space Science. American Geophysical Union (AGU). doi: 10.1029/2019EA000941. ISSN 2333-5084.

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Official URL: https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2019EA000941

Abstract

Dawn's framing camera observed boulders on the surface of Vesta when the spacecraft was in its lowest orbit (LAMO). We identified, measured, and mapped boulders in LAMO images, which have a scale of 20 m per pixel. We estimate that our sample is virtually complete down to a boulder size of 4 pixels (80 m). The largest boulder is a 400 m-sized block on the Marcia crater floor. Relatively few boulders reside in a large area of relatively low albedo, surmised to be the carbon-rich ejecta of the Veneneia basin, either because boulders form less easily here or live shorter. By comparing the density of boulders around craters with a known age, we find that the maximum boulder lifetime is about 300 Ma. The boulder size-frequency distribution (SFD) is generally assumed to follow a power law. We fit power laws to the Vesta SFD by means of the maximum likelihood method, but they do not fit well. Our analysis of power law exponents for boulders on other small Solar System bodies suggests that the derived exponent is primarily a function of boulder size range. The Weibull distribution mimics this behavior and fits the Vesta boulder SFD well. The Weibull distribution is often encountered in rock grinding experiments, and may result from the fractal nature of cracks propagating in the rock interior. We propose that, in general, the SFD of particles (including boulders) on the surface of small bodies follows a Weibull distribution rather than a power law.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/139182/
Document Type:Article
Additional Information:Bisher nur online erschienen.
Title:The boulder population of asteroid 4 Vesta: Size-frequency distribution and survival time
Authors:
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthor's ORCID iDORCID Put Code
Schröder, StefanUNSPECIFIEDhttps://orcid.org/0000-0003-0323-8324UNSPECIFIED
Carsenty, UriUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Hauber, ErnstUNSPECIFIEDhttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-1375-304XUNSPECIFIED
Schulzeck, FranziskaUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Raymond, C. A.Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91109-8099, USAUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Russell, C. T.UCLA, Institute of Geophysics, Los Angeles, USAUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Date:2020
Journal or Publication Title:Earth and Space Science
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:Yes
Gold Open Access:Yes
In SCOPUS:Yes
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
DOI:10.1029/2019EA000941
Publisher:American Geophysical Union (AGU)
ISSN:2333-5084
Status:Published
Keywords:Asteroids, Vesta
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Space
HGF - Program Themes:Space Exploration
DLR - Research area:Raumfahrt
DLR - Program:R EW - Space Exploration
DLR - Research theme (Project):R - Project DAWN (old)
Location: Berlin-Adlershof
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Planetary Research > Planetary Geology
Deposited By: Schröder, Dr. Stefan
Deposited On:07 Dec 2020 11:08
Last Modified:24 Oct 2023 10:55

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