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Large crater clustering tool

May 3, 2017

In this paper we present the Large Crater Clustering (LCC) tool set, an ArcGIS plugin that supports the quantitative approximation of a primary impact location from user-identified locations of possible secondary impact craters or the long-axes of clustered secondary craters. The identification of primary impact craters directly supports planetary geologic mapping and topical science studies where the chronostratigraphic age of some geologic units may be known, but more distant features have questionable geologic ages. Previous works (e.g., McEwen et al., 2005; Dundas and McEwen, 2007) have shown that the source of secondary impact craters can be estimated from secondary impact craters. This work adapts those methods into a statistically robust tool set. We describe the four individual tools within the LCC tool set to support: (1) processing individually digitized point observations (craters), (2) estimating the directional distribution of a clustered set of craters, back projecting the potential flight paths (crater clusters or linearly approximated catenae or lineaments), (3) intersecting projected paths, and (4) intersecting back-projected trajectories to approximate the local of potential source primary craters. We present two case studies using secondary impact features mapped in two regions of Mars. We demonstrate that the tool is able to quantitatively identify primary impacts and supports the improved qualitative interpretation of potential secondary crater flight trajectories.

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