Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter observations of light-toned layered deposits and associated fluvial landforms on the plateaus adjacent to Valles Marineris

C. M. Weitz, R. E. Milliken, J. A. Grant, Alfred S. McEwen, R. M E Williams, J. L. Bishop, B. J. Thomson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

We have used data from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter to study 30-80 m thick light-toned layered deposits on the plateaus adjacent to Valles Marineris at five locations: (1) south of Ius Chasma, (2) south of western Melas Chasma, (3) south of western Candor Chasma, (4) west of Juventae Chasma, and (5) west of Ganges Chasma. The beds within these deposits have unique variations in brightness, color, mineralogy, and erosional properties that are not typically observed in light-toned layered deposits within Valles Marineris or many other equatorial areas on Mars. Reflectance spectra indicate these deposits contain opaline silica and Fe-sulfates, consistent with low-temperature, acidic aqueous alteration of basaltic materials. We have found valley or channel systems associated with the layered deposits at all five locations, and the volcanic plains adjacent to Juventae, Ius, and Ganges exhibit inverted channels composed of light-toned beds. Valleys, channels, and light-toned layering along the walls of Juventae and Melas Chasmata are most likely coeval to the aqueous activity that affected the adjacent plateaus and indicate some hydrological activity occurred after formation of the chasmata. Although the source of water and sediment remains uncertain, the strong correlation between fluvial landforms and light-toned layered deposits argues for sustained precipitation, surface runoff, and fluvial deposition occurring during the Hesperian on the plateaus adjacent to Valles Marineris and along portions of chasmata walls.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)73-102
Number of pages30
JournalIcarus
Volume205
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2010

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Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter
fluvial landform
landforms
Mars
plateaus
deposits
plateau
valleys
beds
valley
mineralogy
drainage
reflectance
plains
mars
silica
volcanology
sulfates
runoff
sulfate

Keywords

  • Mars
  • Mars, surface
  • Mineralogy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics

Cite this

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter observations of light-toned layered deposits and associated fluvial landforms on the plateaus adjacent to Valles Marineris. / Weitz, C. M.; Milliken, R. E.; Grant, J. A.; McEwen, Alfred S.; Williams, R. M E; Bishop, J. L.; Thomson, B. J.

In: Icarus, Vol. 205, No. 1, 01.2010, p. 73-102.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Weitz, C. M. ; Milliken, R. E. ; Grant, J. A. ; McEwen, Alfred S. ; Williams, R. M E ; Bishop, J. L. ; Thomson, B. J. / Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter observations of light-toned layered deposits and associated fluvial landforms on the plateaus adjacent to Valles Marineris. In: Icarus. 2010 ; Vol. 205, No. 1. pp. 73-102.
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