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Layering and degradation of the Rupes Tenuis unit, Mars – a structural analysis south of Chasma Boreale

By
T. Kneissl
T. Kneissl
Institute of Geological Sciences, Planetary Sciences and Remote Sensing, Freie Universitaet Berlin, Malteserstrasse 74-100, D-12249 Berlin, Germany
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S. Van Gasselt
S. Van Gasselt
Institute of Geological Sciences, Planetary Sciences and Remote Sensing, Freie Universitaet Berlin, Malteserstrasse 74-100, D-12249 Berlin, Germany
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L. Wendt
L. Wendt
Institute of Geological Sciences, Planetary Sciences and Remote Sensing, Freie Universitaet Berlin, Malteserstrasse 74-100, D-12249 Berlin, Germany
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C. Gross
C. Gross
Institute of Geological Sciences, Planetary Sciences and Remote Sensing, Freie Universitaet Berlin, Malteserstrasse 74-100, D-12249 Berlin, Germany
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G. Neukum
G. Neukum
Institute of Geological Sciences, Planetary Sciences and Remote Sensing, Freie Universitaet Berlin, Malteserstrasse 74-100, D-12249 Berlin, Germany
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Published:
January 01, 2011

Abstract

The circum north-polar Rupes Tenuis unit forms the polar-proximal basal stratigraphical and morphological units that delineate the north polar cap between 180° and 300°E. In the region of the mouth of the Chasma Boreale re-entrant, the Rupes Tenuis unit is likely to extend further southwards into the northern plains. This is suggested by the occurrence of isolated remnants that have been interpreted as basaltic shield volcanoes, maar craters or mud volcanoes in the past.

As key elements of this study, we assessed the quantitative characteristics of this unit using layer attitudes derived from high-resolution images and terrain-model data, and by performing cross-correlations of prominent layers whose outcrops are observed at eight cone-like remnants. The identification and unambiguous correlation of characteristic layers across the study area provided a reasonable basis for introducing at least three additional stratigraphical subunits of the Rupes Tenuis unit. Extrapolation of altitude data indicates a gentle southward dip of remnant layers, suggesting that the unit had a much larger areal extent in Martian history. The palaeo-layer contact between two subunits of the Rupes Tenuis unit correlates well with elevation values of the Hyperborea Lingula surface. Both results disagree with an interpretation of a volcanic origin for isolated mesas but underpin that they are erosional relicts of the Rupes Tenuis unit. Average erosion rates of 2.5×10−4±4×10−5 mm year−1 are relatively high when compared to Amazonian rates but are not exceptional for areas undergoing deflation. They also corroborate the idea of aeolian denudation of the Rupes Tenuis unit.

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Geological Society, London, Special Publications

Martian Geomorphology

M. R. Balme
M. R. Balme
Open University, UK
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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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