A Caltech Library Service

Mars: Northern hemisphere slopes and slope distributions

Aharonson, Oded and Zuber, Maria T. and Neumann, Gregory A. and Head, James W., III (1998) Mars: Northern hemisphere slopes and slope distributions. Geophysical Research Letters, 25 (24). pp. 4413-4416. ISSN 0094-8276. doi:10.1029/1998GL900057.

PDF - Published Version
See Usage Policy.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


We investigate slope distributions in the northern hemisphere of Mars from topographic profiles collected by the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter. Analysis of the region from about 12°S to 82°N, over diverse geologic units, indicates that the range of regional-scale slopes is small, generally <3°. Surface smoothness is most distinctive in the vast northern hemisphere plains, where slopes are typically <1°. Amazonis Planitia is particularly remarkable in its smoothness, exhibiting an rms variation in topography of <2 m over a 100-km baseline. This relative smoothness is still present when compared with other sampled areas of the Martian northern hemisphere and with volcanically resurfaced terrains elsewhere in the solar system. Planetary surfaces of large areal extent that are most comparable to Amazonis in terms of rms elevation variation over long baselines are depositional in origin and include terrestrial oceanic abyssal plains and certain sedimentary basins. Slopes across the Valles Marineris canyon system show that the upper portion of the walls are significantly and consistently steeper than the lower walls, characteristic of extensive mass wasting. The observed long-runout is consistent with a high-energy collapsed flow. In the neighboring Noctis Labyrinthus canyons the duality between the upper and lower walls is reduced, and indicates a lower energy modificational history and/or greater cohesion of wall rock.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Aharonson, Oded0000-0001-9930-2495
Zuber, Maria T.0000-0003-2652-8017
Neumann, Gregory A.0000-0003-0644-9944
Head, James W., III0000-0003-2013-560X
Additional Information:© 1998 by the American Geophysical Union. Received June 22, 1998; revised September 1, 1998; accepted September 17, 1998. We acknowledge helpful discussions with Kelin Whipple and Tom Jordan. This study was supported by the Mars Global Surveyor Project.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Issue or Number:24
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20130129-102039993
Persistent URL:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:36642
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:30 Jan 2013 19:08
Last Modified:07 Mar 2023 23:22

Repository Staff Only: item control page