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Lithospheric flexure and the origin of the dichotomy boundary on Mars

Thomas R. Watters
Lithospheric flexure and the origin of the dichotomy boundary on Mars
Geology (Boulder) (March 2003) 31 (3): 271-274


The crustal dichotomy between the ancient highlands of the Southern Hemisphere and the young-appearing northern lowlands is a defining feature of Mars. In the Eastern Hemisphere the dichotomy boundary is marked by a prominent scarp and extensional and compressional tectonic features. Topographic data across the boundary returned from the Mars Global Surveyor indicate lithospheric flexure of the southern highlands. The topography of the boundary can be fit by a universal lithospheric deflection profile that corresponds to an elastic thickness of approximately 31-36 km. Flexure of the southern highlands may be due to late Noachian-early Hesperian vertical loading of the northern lowlands. Fracturing and normal faulting along the boundary may be in response to bending stresses, while thrust faulting may result from a combination of stresses due to flexure, erosion, and global contraction.

ISSN: 0091-7613
EISSN: 1943-2682
Serial Title: Geology (Boulder)
Serial Volume: 31
Serial Issue: 3
Title: Lithospheric flexure and the origin of the dichotomy boundary on Mars
Author(s): Watters, Thomas R.
Affiliation: Smithsonian Institution, Center for Earth and Planetary Studies, Washington, DC, United States
Pages: 271-274
Published: 200303
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of America (GSA), Boulder, CO, United States
References: 37
Accession Number: 2003-025986
Categories: Extraterrestrial geology
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. sketch maps
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data supplied by the Geological Society of America, Boulder, CO, United States
Update Code: 200309
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