Geometric properties of Martian impact craters: Preliminary results from the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter



The Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) acquired high spatial and vertical resolution topographic data for 18 tracks across the northern hemisphere of Mars during the Fall of 1997. It sampled 98 minimally degraded impact craters between the latitudes of 80°N and 12°S The best fitting depth (d) versus diameter (D) power-law relationship for these craters is: d = 0.14 D0.90 for simple varieties, and d = 0.25 D0.49 for complex structures. The simple-to-complex transition diameter is 8 km (+/−0.5 km). The cross-sectional “shape” of the crater cavities was determined by fitting a power-function to each profile. Variation in the exponent (n) suggest the craters flatten with increasing diameter and impact energy. The ejecta thickness is skewed suggesting that use of existing empirical expressions for the expected radial decay of ejecta thickness is inappropriate for Mars in most cases.