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Grooved Terrain on Ganymede: First Results from Galileo High-Resolution Imaging

January 1, 1998

High-resolution Galileo imaging has provided important insight into the origin and evolution of grooved terrain on Ganymede. The Uruk Sulcus target site was the first imaged at high resolution, and considerations of resolution, viewing geometry, low image compression, and complementary stereo imaging make this region extremely informative. Contrast variations in these low-incidence angle images are extreme and give the visual impression of topographic shading. However, photometric analysis shows that the scene must owe its character to albedo variations. A close correlation of albedo variations to topography is demonstrated by limited stereo coverage, allowing extrapolation of the observed brightness and topographic relationships to the rest of the imaged area. Distinct geological units are apparent across the region, and ridges and grooves are ubiquitous within these units. The stratigraphically lowest and most heavily cratered units ("lineated grooved terrain") generally show morphologies indicative of horst-and-graben-style normal faulting. The stratigraphically highest groove lanes ("parallel ridged terrain") exhibit ridges of roughly triangular cross section, suggesting that tilt-block-style normal faulting has shaped them. These extensional-tectonic models are supported by crosscutting relationships at the margins of groove lanes. Thus, a change in tectonic style with time is suggested in the Uruk Sulcus region, varying from horst and graben faulting for the oldest grooved terrain units to tilt block normal faulting for the latest units. The morphologies and geometries of some stratigraphically high units indicate that a strike-slip component of deformation has played an important role in shaping this region of grooved terrain. The most recent tectonic episode is interpreted as right-lateral transtension, with its tectonic pattern of two contemporaneous structural orientations superimposed on older units of grooved terrain. There is little direct evidence for cryovolcanic resurfacing in the Uruk Sulcus region; instead tectonism appears to be the dominant geological process that has shaped the terrain. A broad wavelength of deformation is indicated, corresponding to the Voyager-observed topography, and may be the result of ductile necking of the lithosphere, while a finer scale of deformation probably reflects faulting of the brittle near surface. The results here form a basis against which other Galileo grooved terrain observations can be compared.

Publication Year 1998
Title Grooved Terrain on Ganymede: First Results from Galileo High-Resolution Imaging
DOI 10.1006/icar.1998.5966
Authors Robert T. Pappalardo, James W. Head, Geoffrey C. Collins, Randolph L. Kirk, Gerhard Neukum, Jürgen Oberst, Bernd Giese, Ronald Greeley, Clark R. Chapman, Paul Helfenstein, Jeffrey M. Moore, Alfred S. McEwen, B. Randy Tufts, David A. Senske, H. Herbert Breneman, Kenneth P. Klaasen
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Icarus
Index ID 70020114
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Astrogeology Science Center