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North polar stratigraphy and the paleo-erg of Mars

Byrne, Shane and Murray, Bruce C. (2002) North polar stratigraphy and the paleo-erg of Mars. Journal of Geophysical Research E, 107 (E6). Art. No. 5044. ISSN 0148-0227. doi:10.1029/2001JE001615.

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An accurate self-consistent way of coregistering the imaging and topographic data sets of the Mars Global Surveyor mission was developed and used to begin a stratigraphic analysis of the northern polar region. A distinct change in the layering style exists at a definite stratigraphic horizon near the base of the north polar layered deposits. Occurrences of the contact between two distinct layered units can be mapped hundreds of kilometers apart at nearly the same Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) elevation. The lower layered unit has a consistent association with sand dunes, leading to the conclusion that it is an eroding sand-rich deposit that predates most of the overlying north polar layered deposits, which exhibits the expected features of a dust-ice mixture. These results suggest that an areally extensive erg was in existence before the present ice cap and that the present circumpolar erg is likely composed of material reworked from this older deposit. The volume of this lower unit is estimated to be on the order of 10^5 km^3. The presence of this deposit implies that there existed a period in Mars' history when there was no icy polar cap. A dramatic climatic change leading to the deposition of the upper layered (icy) unit in the present-day polar layered deposits represents a major event in Mars' history. However, owing to uncertainties in the mechanics of layered deposits formation, such an event cannot be dated at this time.

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Additional Information:© 2002 by the American Geophysical Union. Received 10 September 2001; revised 8 February 2002; accepted 8 February 2002; published 29 June 2002. We are especially grateful to the MOLA and MOC teams for providing their high-quality data in such a prompt manner. We would like to especially thank Anton Ivanov (master of all things MOLA) for his help in acquiring MOLA data in an accessible form and Lori Fenton for her help in understanding dunes and all the cool stuff they can do. We would also like to thank Arden Albee, Andrew Ingersoll, Mark Richardson and Ashwin Vasavada for their comments (and encouragement). Finally we thank Ken Herkenhoff for his comments as a reviewer; the paper is very much improved as a result.
Issue or Number:E6
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20141029-144250693
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Official Citation:Byrne, S., and B. C. Murray, North polar stratigraphy and the paleo-erg of Mars, J. Geophys. Res., 107(E6), doi:10.1029/2001JE001615, 2002
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:51028
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:29 Oct 2014 22:55
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 19:04

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