Geophysical Research Letters

Thrust faults and the near-surface strength of asteroid 433 Eros

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Abstract

[1] NEAR Shoemaker images reveal widespread occurrence of tectonic landforms on asteroid 433 Eros. Hinks Dorsum is a ridge that extends for about 18 km around the asteroid and strongly resembles thrust fault structures on the terrestrial planets. Tectonic landforms can provide information on the mechanical properties of asteroids, a subject of much controversy. Modeling constrained by topographic data shows that Hinks Dorsum can be accounted for by a shallow rooted thrust fault no greater than 250 m in depth with ∼90 m of cumulative slip. Strength envelopes based on frictional and rock mass strength criteria suggest the near-surface shear strength of Eros is from ∼1 to 6 MPa. A spatial correlation is found between Shoemaker crater, a transition from low to high crater density, and Hinks Dorsum. This spatial relation along with the estimated strength of the asteroid suggests the thrust fault was formed by impact induced compression.

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