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Evidence for an Hesperian-aged South Circum-Polar Lake Margin Environment on Mars

Dickson, James and Head, James W. (2006) Evidence for an Hesperian-aged South Circum-Polar Lake Margin Environment on Mars. Planetary and Space Science, 54 (3). pp. 251-272. ISSN 0032-0633. doi:10.1016/j.pss.2005.12.010.

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A broad pitted plain and an elongated low rise occur near the south pole of Mars between a region of major cavi (Cavi Angusti) and a regionally smooth and broad valley (Argentea Planum). Viking, Mars Global Surveyor (MGS), and Odyssey data reveal a densely pitted plain covering ∼6750 km^2, and containing >300 irregularly shaped, steep-walled and flat-floored depressions with a mean diameter of ∼3.5 km. At the southernmost (poleward) extent of this plain are 12 north/south trending linear valleys that are characterized by theater-shaped heads abutting a major cavi within Cavi Angusti. The pitted plain, which abuts Cavi Angusti to the southwest, is separated from the floor of Argentea Planum by a smooth, elongated low rise that extends parallel to the plain for ∼200 km. These unusual features are all found within the Hesperian-aged circumpolar Dorsa Argentea Formation, which has been interpreted by some workers to be an ice-rich glacier-related deposit. We interpret the pitted plain to represent the maximum northern extent of the Angusti lobe ice deposit. The pits are analogous in morphology and distribution to terrestrial kettle holes, which form from the melting of isolated ice-blocks surrounded and partly buried by sediment, to leave hollows. The linear valleys are consistent with sapping valleys formed from the release of an elevated groundwater table, fed by meltwater lakes. On the basis of these characteristics, relationships and analogs, we interpret the marginal facies to represent an ice-sheet/lake contact environment that existed during Hesperian time.

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Head, James W.0000-0003-2013-560X
Additional Information:© 2006 Elsevier Ltd. Received 6 January 2005; received in revised form 12 December 2005; accepted 14 December 2005. This work was partially supported by the NASA Mars Data Analysis Program, which is gratefully acknowledged. Thanks are extended to David R. Marchant for productive discussions about glacial landforms and processes and the geology of Cape Cod.
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Subject Keywords:Mars; Dorsa Argentea Formation; Glacial Lake; Kettle Hole; Polar processes
Issue or Number:3
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20161129-103258413
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Official Citation:James Dickson, James W. Head, Evidence for an Hesperian-aged South Circum-Polar Lake Margin Environment on Mars, Planetary and Space Science, Volume 54, Issue 3, March 2006, Pages 251-272, ISSN 0032-0633, (
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:72397
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:29 Nov 2016 18:51
Last Modified:11 Nov 2021 05:00

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