The unique geomorphology and physical properties of the Vestalia Terra plateau

D. L. Buczkowski, D. Y. Wyrick, M. Toplis, R. A. Yingst, D. A. Williams, W. B. Garry, S. Mest, T. Kneissl, J. E.C. Scully, A. Nathues, M. C. De Sanctis, L. LeCorre, V. Reddy, M. Hoffmann, E. Ammannito, A. Frigeri, F. Tosi, F. Preusker, T. Roatsch, C. A. RaymondR. Jaumann, C. M. Pieters, C. T. Russell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


We produced a geologic map of the Av-9 Numisia quadrangle of asteroid Vesta using Dawn spacecraft data to serve as a tool to understand the geologic relations of surface features in this region. These features include the plateau Vestalia Terra, a hill named Brumalia Tholus, and an unusual "dark ribbon" material crossing the majority of the map area. Stratigraphic relations suggest that Vestalia Terra is one of the oldest features on Vesta, despite a model crater age date similar to that of much of the surface of the asteroid. Cornelia, Numisia and Drusilla craters reveal bright and dark material in their walls, and both Cornelia and Numisia have smooth and pitted terrains on their floors suggestive of the release of volatiles during or shortly after the impacts that formed these craters. Cornelia, Fabia and Teia craters have extensive bright ejecta lobes. While diogenitic material has been identified in association with the bright Teia and Fabia ejecta, hydroxyl has been detected in the dark material within Cornelia, Numisia and Drusilla. Three large pit crater chains appear in the map area, with an orientation similar to the equatorial troughs that cut the majority of Vesta. Analysis of these features has led to several interpretations of the geological history of the region. Vestalia Terra appears to be mechanically stronger than the rest of Vesta. Brumalia Tholus may be the surface representation of a dike-fed laccolith. The dark ribbon feature is proposed to represent a long-runout ejecta flow from Drusilla crater.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)89-103
Number of pages15
StatePublished - Dec 1 2014


  • Asteroid vesta
  • Geological processes
  • Impact processes
  • Tectonics
  • Volcanism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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