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A possible origin for the grooves of Phobos


The surface of Phobos, the inner satellite of Mars, is marked by a series of linear depressions or grooves. These have been interpreted as surface manifestations of internal fractures1,2. The origin of these fractures has been ascribed to tidal stresses induced by the decay of Phobos' orbit3, or to a nearly catastrophic cratering event2.I suggest here that the age and distribution of the grooves may be explained by a hybrid origin due to varying tidal stresses induced after a large impact altered the satellite's rotation rate.

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Weidenschilling, S. A possible origin for the grooves of Phobos. Nature 282, 697–698 (1979).

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