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Magnitude of a catastrophic flood event at Kasei Valles, Mars

Mark S. Robinson and Kenneth L. Tanaka
Magnitude of a catastrophic flood event at Kasei Valles, Mars
Geology (Boulder) (September 1990) 18 (9): 902-905


Kasei Valles compose an enormous outflow-channel system on Mars. The upper part of the channel system is typically less than 1 km deep and descends from Echus Chasma about 1 km over a distance of 1000 km; it then splits into north and south channels. On the basis of a stereomodel of Viking images, we have measured the geometry of a steep, constricted reach of the north channel that drops 900 m in only 100 km. A late-stage flood is hypothesized to have scoured the channel. If we assume that channel striations indicate water levels, then the flood had a minimum cross-sectional area of 3.12 x 10 (super 7) m (super 2) (the putative flood had a width of 83 km, an average depth of 374 m, and maximum depth of 1280 m). These channel measurements suggest that flood velocities ranged from 32 to 75 m.s (super -1) and that discharge was greater than 1 km (super 3) .s (super -1) , values larger than those calculated for any other flood event on Mars or Earth. The flood maintained supercritical flow and caused intense erosion in this area, scouring a 350-m-deep megapothole. The source of the flood water may have been a temporary lake in Echus Chasma, a deep canyon formed in association with tectonism at Valles Marineris.

ISSN: 0091-7613
EISSN: 1943-2682
Serial Title: Geology (Boulder)
Serial Volume: 18
Serial Issue: 9
Title: Magnitude of a catastrophic flood event at Kasei Valles, Mars
Affiliation: Hawaii Inst. Geophys., Planet. Geosci. Div., Honolulu, HI, United States
Pages: 902-905
Published: 199009
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of America (GSA), Boulder, CO, United States
References: 26
Accession Number: 1990-050506
Categories: Extraterrestrial geology
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. 2 tables, geol. sketch map
Secondary Affiliation: U. S. Geol. Surv., USA, United States
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute.
Update Code: 1990
Program Name: USGSOPNon-USGS publications with USGS authors
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