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Book Chapter

Analogue modelling of volcano flank terrace formation on Mars

By
Paul K. Byrne
Paul K. Byrne
Lunar and Planetary Institute, Universities Space Research Association, Houston, TX 77058, USADepartment of Terrestrial Magnetism, Carnegie Institution of Washington, Washington, DC 20015, USA
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Eoghan P. Holohan
Eoghan P. Holohan
German Research Center for Geosciences (GFZ Potsdam), Section 2.1: Physics of Earthquakes and Volcanoes, Telegrafenberg, Potsdam 14473, Germany
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Matthieu Kervyn
Matthieu Kervyn
Department of Geography, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, B-1050 Brussels, Belgium
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Benjamin Van Wyk De Vries
Benjamin Van Wyk De Vries
Laboratoire Magmas et Volcans, Blaise Pascal Université, 63038 Clermont-Ferrand, France
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Valentin R. Troll
Valentin R. Troll
Department of Earth Sciences, CEMPEG, Uppsala University, 752 36 Uppsala, Sweden
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Published:
January 01, 2015

Abstract

Of the features that characterize large shield volcanoes on Mars, flank terraces remain the most enigmatic. Several competing mechanisms have been proposed for these laterally expansive, topographically subtle landforms. Here we test the hypothesis that horizontal contraction of a volcano in response to the down-flexing of its underlying basement leads to flank terracing. We performed a series of analogue models consisting of a conical sand–plaster load emplaced on a basement comprising a layer of brittle sand–plaster atop a reservoir of viscoelastic silicone. Our experiments consistently produced a suite of structures that included a zone of concentric extension distal to the conical load, a flexural trough adjacent to the load base and convexities (terraces) on the cone’s flanks. The effects of variations in the thickness of the brittle basal layer, as well as in the volume, slope and planform eccentricity of the cone, were also investigated. For a given cone geometry, we find that terrace formation is enhanced as the brittle basement thickness decreases, but that a sufficiently thick brittle layer can enhance the basement’s resistance to loading such that terracing of the cone is reduced or even inhibited altogether. For a given brittle basement thickness, terracing is reduced with decreasing cone slope and/or volume. Our experimental results compare well morphologically to observations of terraced edifices on Mars, and so provide a framework with which to understand the developmental history of large shield volcanoes on the Red Planet.

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Contents

Geological Society, London, Special Publications

Volcanism and Tectonism Across the Inner Solar System

T. Platz
T. Platz
Planetary Science Institute, USA
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M. Massironi
M. Massironi
Università degli Studi di Padova, Italy
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P. K. Byrne
P. K. Byrne
Lunar and Planetary Institute, USA
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H. Hiesinger
H. Hiesinger
Westfälische Wilhelms-Universitä Münster, Germany
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Geological Society of London
Volume
401
ISBN electronic:
9781862396777
Publication date:
January 01, 2015

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