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A systematic survey was undertaken and an investigation carried out into the geomorphological characteristics of lobate debris aprons in the Tempe Terra region of Mars. Based on the most recent high-resolution (sub 15 m per pixel) imagery and on new topography data, this study endeavoured to raise and discuss questions regarding their formation (emplacement) and modification (deformation sequence), as well as the role of a mantling deposit found at mid-latitude locations on Mars. Furthermore, a model for the formation of debris aprons in the Tempe Terra–Mareotis Fossae settings is proposed. Image survey, in combination with basic morphometric observations within a geomorphological context, provided additional insights into the source, emplacement and modification of hillslope debris material. Our results imply that lobate debris aprons are not mainly relicts of remnant degradation but are substantially composed of mantling material probably deposited episodically in the course of planetary obliquity changes and over a long timespan, as derived erosion rates suggest. Crater-size frequency statistics and the derivation of absolute ages show ages of sub-recent modification and document earlier resurfacing events.

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