Studies of Martian fault-related landform morphology have noted an interesting phenomenon associated with large thrusts — isolated channels that run from the crests of these landforms down their slopes. One such example is Ogygis Rupes, an east-verging, 180 km long thrust-fault-related landform located near 55°W, 33°S. Geometric modeling efforts have indicated the fault underlying this landform has experienced approximately 2850 m of slip, and a large anticlinal fold has grown above the fault. We mapped 72 channels on back and front slopes of this massive landform at 1:24,000 scale on 10 mosaiced Context Camera images (6 m/pixel) and one High-Resolution Imaging Experiment image (2.5 m/pixel). The morphology of these channels indicates that they formed through flash flood events that originated near the hinge of the fold. We propose that these flooding events were due to the melting of subsurface ice during fault slip. We apply a thermodynamic model for heat generation along the fault surface during slip events of various magnitudes to estimate the volumes of water produced during each hypothetical event. By comparing these estimates to channel discharge values estimated from channel morphologies, we resolve fault slip magnitudes that could produce the channels. We find that slip events of approximately 28 m produce enough heat to melt the ice associated with channel flow (4.867 × 109 m3). This estimate is based on slip within a 1 m basaltic fault zone, with a friction coefficient of 0.6 where all pore space is occupied by water ice. Results indicate that only mature faults with well-developed, fractured hinges are capable of both (1) melting enough subsurface ice and (2) transporting the water to the surface to result in flooding, explaining why this impressive phenomenon remains a rare but important hazard of which to be aware during planning of the exploration and settlement of Mars.

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