A Caltech Library Service

The surface of Mars 2. Uncratered terrains

Sharp, Robert P. and Soderblom, Laurence A. and Murray, Bruce C. and Cutts, James A. (1971) The surface of Mars 2. Uncratered terrains. Journal of Geophysical Research, 76 (2). pp. 331-342. ISSN 0148-0227. doi:10.1029/JB076i002p00331.

PDF - Published Version
See Usage Policy.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


Mariner 6 and 7 photographs reveal two types of uncratered terrain on Mars. These are descriptively termed chaotic and featureless. Chaotic terrain is younger than cratered terrain and displays features strongly suggestive of slump and collapse. The speculation is offered that it may be an expression of geothermal developments within Mars that only recently have begun to affect the surface. Featureless terrain, identified only within the large circular area Hellas, is devoid of any discernible topographic forms larger than the limit of resolution, about 500 meters. Manner 7 data indicate that Hellas is a topographically low and structurally old basin. Smoothness of its floor could be the product of a recent event or of continuous processes that obliterate craters. Local processes of high efficacy, unusual surface materials, or both, are probably involved. Through its chaotic terrain the martian surface displays a development that does not seem to be recorded, at least in the form of preserved recognizable evidence, on the moon or earth.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Soderblom, Laurence A.0000-0002-0917-853X
Cutts, James A.0000-0002-1765-8322
Additional Information:Copyright 1971 by the American Geophysical Union. (Received August 10, 1970; revised September 14, 1970.) We are deeply indebted to all persons whose combined efforts made the Mariner 1969 flights to Mars a success. With respect to the series of four articles on martian surface features published herein, we specifically acknowledge the valuable aid of the following: G. E. Danielson, S. A. Collins, J. J. van der Woude, T. C. Rindfieisch, J. A. Dunne, R. C. Dewar, and Patricia Conklin, all of the California Institute of Technology and JPL. Our colleagues of the Mariner TV team, M. E. Davies, A. H. Herriman, N.H. Horowitz, C. B. Leovy, B. A. Smith, and A. T. Young have provided counsel and information. Without the leadership and unending efforts of principal investigator, R. B. Leighton, the TV project would never have succeeded. The participation of Murray, Leighton, and Sharp has been underwritten by the California Institute of Technology. Cutts has been partly supported by NASA-105-69836 and Soderblom by NGL-05-002-003. Contribution 1882, Division of Geological Sciences, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Subject Keywords:Mars: Geomorphology
Other Numbering System:
Other Numbering System NameOther Numbering System ID
Caltech Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences1882
Issue or Number:2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20141107-092830228
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Sharp, R. P., L. A. Soderblom, B. C. Murray, and J. A. Cutts (1971), The surface of Mars 2. Uncratered terrains, J. Geophys. Res., 76(2), 331–342, doi:10.1029/JB076i002p00331.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:51421
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:07 Nov 2014 18:05
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 19:10

Repository Staff Only: item control page