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Book Chapter

Martian Geomorphology: introduction

By
M. R. Balme
M. R. Balme
Department of Earth Science, Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes MK7 6AA, UK
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A. S. Bargery
A. S. Bargery
Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University, Lancaster LA1 4YQ, UK
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C. J. Gallagher
C. J. Gallagher
UCD School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Policy, Newman Building, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland
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S. Gupta
S. Gupta
Department of Earth Science and Engineering, Imperial College, Prince Consort Road, London SW7 2PB, UK
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Published:
January 01, 2011

Abstract

This book concerns the Martian landscape; that collection of volcanoes, valleys, impact craters and ice caps that recent images reveal both to be strikingly familiar but also strangely alien to the surface of our own planet. The primary aim of studying planetary landscapes is to understand the process(es) by which they formed, with the larger goal of unravelling key questions about the origin, evolution and potential habitability of our solar system.

Compared with Earth, Mars' surface erosion rates are extremely low (Golombek & Bridges 2000), so Martian landscapes ranging in age from the very ancient to the recent still remain preserved and amenable to observation. Because so much of the planet's geological history remains visible, Martian geomorphology has the potential to provide even deeper insights into the early evolution of the planet than is the case for terrestrial geomorphology. Furthermore, the lack of precipitation (at least for much of Martian geological history: Craddock & Howard 2002), vegetation or human influence have preserved landforms on the surface of Mars that on Earth are obscured, degraded or buried, and only recognizable from interpretation of the sedimentary rock record. These observations, together with the fact that virtually all of the geological processes seen on Earth are believed to have also occurred on Mars, make it a powerful laboratory for comparative studies of geomorphological processes.

Like any dominantly remote-sensing approach, studies of the Martian surface must account for in situ data, but outcrop and hand-sample examination is a luxury afforded

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Contents

Geological Society, London, Special Publications

Martian Geomorphology

M. R. Balme
M. R. Balme
Open University, UK
Search for other works by this author on:
A. S. Bargery
A. S. Bargery
Lancaster University, UK
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C. J. Gallagher
C. J. Gallagher
University College Dublin, Ireland
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S. Gupta
S. Gupta
Imperial College London, UK
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Geological Society of London
Volume
356
ISBN electronic:
9781862396043
Publication date:
January 01, 2011

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