EGU22-13476, updated on 18 May 2022
EGU General Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Impact cratering into water-covered targets on Mars

Aleksandra Sokolowska1, Nicolas Thomas1, and Kai Wünnemann2
Aleksandra Sokolowska et al.
  • 1University of Bern
  • 2Museum für Naturkunde Berlin
Mars is a cold dry planet, yet there is ample evidence for fluvial activity on its past surface, including sediments suggestive of shallow lakes, which paints a different picture for the Martian past climate. Mars is also heavily cratered, and some of those craters may have resulted from impact cratering into water-covered targets. Distinguishing between water-overed and dry surface at the time of the impact is the topic of this project. We approach this problem from the theoretical point of view and use a shock physics code iSALE capable of simulating different materials with various strength and damage models. This hydrocode is widely used in impact physics and has been extensively tested against laboratory experiments. We realise several impact scenarios with varied rheology, as well as sizes of projectiles and impact angles, in particular water-covered (simulated paleolake), water ice-rich and dry targets. We discuss the theoretical effects of the presence of surface water on the morphology and dynamics of impact sites (both craters and ejecta). Distinguishing between these scenarios can aid the interpretation of remote sensing observations, and open a possibility of using a new independent observable to study the past climate of Mars.

How to cite: Sokolowska, A., Thomas, N., and Wünnemann, K.: Impact cratering into water-covered targets on Mars, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-13476,, 2022.


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