Wrinkle ridges on Mercury and the Moon within and outside of mascons
Schleicher, Lisa S.
Watters, Thomas R.
Martin, Aaron James
Banks, Maria E.
"Found on all terrestrial planets, wrinkle ridges are anticlines formed by thrust faulting and folding resulting from crustal shortening. The MErcury Surface, Space Environment, Geochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) spacecraft's orbital phase returned high resolution images and topographic data of the previously unimaged northern high latitudes of Mercury where there are large expanses of smooth plains deformed by wrinkle ridges. Concurrently, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) is obtaining high resolution images and topographic data covering lunar mare wrinkle ridges. These data allow quantitative comparison of the scale of wrinkle ridges in smooth plains volcanic units on Mercury with mare wrinkle ridges. We evaluate the topographic relief of 300 wrinkle ridges within and outside of mascon basins on the Moon and Mercury. Measured wrinkle ridges range from ~112 to 776 m in relief with a mean of ~350 m (median = ~340 m, n = 150) on Mercury and from ~47 to 678 m in relief with a mean of ~198 m (median = ~168 m, n = 150) on the Moon. Wrinkle ridges on Mercury thus are approximately twice as large in mean relief compared to their counterparts on the Moon. The larger scale of Mercury's wrinkle ridges suggests that their formation can be attributed, in part, to global contraction. As global contraction on the Moon is estimated to be an order of magnitude smaller than on Mercury, the smaller scale of lunar wrinkle ridges suggests they most likely form primarily by load induced subsidence of the mare basalt. Wrinkle ridges located in lunar mascon basins and in the Caloris mascon on Mercury are not statistically significantly different in relief than ridges in non-mascon regions, suggesting comparable levels of contractional strain. The fact that mascon basins do not host wrinkle ridges with greater structural relief relative to non-mascon units may indicate the critical role lithospheric thickness plays in controlling subsidence and contraction of thick volcanic sequences on the Moon and Mercury."
Knowledge areaASTRONOMÍA Y ASTROFÍSICA
Tectonic surface deformation