Large impact features on middle-sized icy satellites

Jeffrey M. Moore, Paul M. Schenk, Lindsey S. Bruesch, Erik Asphaug, William B. McKinnon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


All of the large impact features of the middle-sized icy satellites of Saturn and Uranus that were clearly observed by the Voyager spacecraft are described. New image mosaics and stereo-and-photoclinometrically-derived digital elevation models are presented. Landforms related to large impact features, such as secondary craters and possible antipodal effects are examined and evaluated. Of the large impacts, Odysseus on Tethys appears to have had the most profound effect on its "target" satellite of any of the impact features we examined. Our modeling suggests that the Odysseus impact may have caused the prompt formation of Ithaca Chasma, a belt of tectonic troughs that roughly follow a great circle normal to the center of Odysseus, although other hypotheses remain viable. We identify probable secondary cratering from Tirawa on Rhea. We attribute a number of converging coalescing crater chains on Rhea to a putative, possibly relatively fresh, ∼350 km-diameter impact feature. We examine the antipodes of Odysseus, the putative ∼350 km-diameter Rhean impact feature, and Tirawa, and conclude that evidence from Voyager data for damage from seismic focusing is equivocal, although our modeling results indicate that such damage may have occurred. We propose a number of observations and tests for Cassini that offer the opportunity to differentiate among the various explanations and speculations reviewed and evaluated in this study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)421-443
Number of pages23
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Impact processes
  • Satellites of Saturn
  • Satellites of Uranus
  • Surfaces, satellite

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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