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Geomorphological characterisation and interpretation of a mid-latitude glacier-like form: Hellas Planitia, Mars

Hubbard, Bryn and Milliken, Ralph E. and Kargel, Jeffrey S. and Limaye, Ajay and Souness, Colin (2011) Geomorphological characterisation and interpretation of a mid-latitude glacier-like form: Hellas Planitia, Mars. Icarus, 211 (1). pp. 330-346. ISSN 0019-1035.

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We describe and interpret the surface terrain types associated with a widely-reported ~4 km long, midlatitude martian viscous flow feature (VFF). The feature is located in the southern hemisphere, on the poleward-facing rim of a ~60 km-diameter crater in eastern Hellas Planitia. High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) images, analysed in both 2D and 3D, reveal that the upper margin of the feature is bounded by steep (~30°) headwalls, typically some tens of metres high, that are formed from unconsolidated material and characterised by a series of slope–parallel linear incisions. Below these incised headwalls, the feature flows at a general angle of ~10° from a broad upper basin to a confined lower tongue that is bounded by a nested sequence of elongate raised ridges. These characteristics are typical of several VFFs in the region and are strikingly similar to moraine-bounded valley glaciers on Earth, and we sub-classify this feature as a ‘glacier-like form’ (GLF)^1. The GLF comprises five distinctive surface terrain types that contrast sharply with surface characteristics outside its bounding moraines. Four of these terrains (scaly terrain, polygonized terrain, linear terrain and mound-and-tail terrain) are located within the GLF’s innermost bounding moraine, while the fifth (rectilinear-ridge terrain) is located between its frontal moraines. These terrains are mapped, characterised and associated with possible mechanisms of formation to draw inferences about the GLF’s glaciology and glacial history. This analysis suggests that the GLF reached its maximal extent in the geologically-recent past, and that it may have been partially wetbased at that time. Subsequent to this phase, the GLF experienced an extended period of general recession that has been punctuated by several episodes of still-stand or advance. Currently, the GLF’s basin appears to be composed of a lower zone that is dominated by an exposed former glacier bed and an upper zone that may still contain a now-degraded and dust-mantled viscous mass, similar to many partially-glacierized basins on Earth.

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Milliken, Ralph E.0000-0003-3240-4918
Additional Information:© 2010 Elsevier Inc. Received 29 December 2009; revised 20 October 2010; accepted 25 October 2010. Available online 10 November 2010. We thank the HiRISE team, University of Arizona, and NASA/JPL for their efforts in making the HiRISE image we investigate herein available to the public. We also thank two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments and Jim Bell for editing. Colin Souness is in receipt of a NERC-funded PhD studentship.
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NERC-funded PhD studentshipUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:Mars; Mars, Surface; Mars, Polar caps
Issue or Number:1
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20110303-095336113
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Official Citation:Bryn Hubbard, Ralph E. Milliken, Jeffrey S. Kargel, Ajay Limaye, Colin Souness, Geomorphological characterisation and interpretation of a mid-latitude glacier-like form: Hellas Planitia, Mars, Icarus, Volume 211, Issue 1, January 2011, Pages 330-346, ISSN 0019-1035, DOI: 10.1016/j.icarus.2010.10.021. (
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:22624
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:03 Mar 2011 18:24
Last Modified:09 Mar 2020 13:19

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