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Kilometer-thick ice accumulation and glaciation in the northern mid-latitudes of Mars: Evidence for crater-filling events in the Late Amazonian at the Phlegra Montes

Dickson, James L. and Head, James W. and Marchant, David R. (2010) Kilometer-thick ice accumulation and glaciation in the northern mid-latitudes of Mars: Evidence for crater-filling events in the Late Amazonian at the Phlegra Montes. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 294 (3-4). pp. 332-342. ISSN 0012-821X. https://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechAUTHORS:20161130-110822022

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Abstract

Amazonian non-polar ice deposits on Mars record periods and events when the climate differed substantially from that of today. Particularly evident are examples of ice-rich deposits in the martian mid-latitudes (lobate debris aprons, lineated valley fill, and concentric crater fill). Uncertain, however, is the amount of ice remaining in these deposits today, and the thickness of ice that might have existed when they formed. Here, we use HRSC, CTX and HiRISE imagery and MOLA topographic data to document an occurrence of concentric crater fill within which the past minimum volume of ice can be constrained. An ~ 8 km impact crater is superposed on the rim of a ~ 32 km impact crater near the contact between the Phlegra Montes and the Vastitas Borealis Formation in the northern mid-latitudes of Mars. We find evidence for flow from the larger crater into the perched smaller crater that indicates an earlier period of significant ice accumulation and glaciation within this double crater. Lobate ridges observed outside of the perched younger crater suggest that ice filled and overtopped the crater rim, providing minimum estimates of ice thickness and volume within the system. Glacial ice must have been at least ~ 1000 m thick to overtop the rims of both craters and induce gravitational flow onto the surrounding plains, with a minimum volume of ice of ~ 750 km^3. This is the first volumetric measurement of this kind on Mars for concentric crater fill craters, and the thickness is comparable to that measured in a lineated valley fill glacial system along the dichotomy boundary at a similar latitude. We also document late-stage episodes of more localized glacial flow that include ridges on valley walls that we interpret as late-stage glacial high-stands, and concentric crater fill (CCF) that characterizes most of the present-day crater floor. Similar deposits in a crater ~ 60 km to the northeast suggest that such episodes were at least regional in nature. This sequence provides evidence for significant spin-axis/orbital parameter-driven shifts in the Late Amazonian climate of Mars and suggests that regional ice sheets may have existed in the mid-latitudes of Mars within the last several hundred million years.


Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.epsl.2009.08.031DOIArticle
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0012821X09005135PublisherArticle
ORCID:
AuthorORCID
Head, James W.0000-0003-2013-560X
Additional Information:© 2009 Elsevier B.V. Accepted 25 August 2009; Available online 25 September 2009. We appreciate suggestions made by Jeffrey Plaut and an anonymous reviewer. Caleb Fassett significantly aided in the processing and registration of all data used in this study, and we thank him accordingly. The features at the core of this study were initially found in THEMIS VIS data, and we appreciate the work of the science and engineering teams for THEMIS and Mars Odyssey. Likewise, we appreciate the efforts of the science and engineering staff for HRSC, HiRISE, CTX and MOLA. John Huffman of Brown University assisted with the visualization of stereo data, and we appreciate his contributions. We greatly acknowledge financial assistance from NASA for support on the ESA Mars Express High-Resolution Stereo Camera experiment (JPL1237163), for NASA Mars Data Analysis Program Grants NNG04GJ99G and NNX07AN95G, and for NASA Applied Information Systems Research Program Grant NNG05GA61G.
Funders:
Funding AgencyGrant Number
JPL1237163
NASANNG04GJ99G
NASANNX07AN95G
NASANNG05GA61G
Subject Keywords:Mars; glaciation; climate change; water
Issue or Number:3-4
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20161130-110822022
Persistent URL:https://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechAUTHORS:20161130-110822022
Official Citation:James L. Dickson, James W. Head, David R. Marchant, Kilometer-thick ice accumulation and glaciation in the northern mid-latitudes of Mars: Evidence for crater-filling events in the Late Amazonian at the Phlegra Montes, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Volume 294, Issues 3–4, 1 June 2010, Pages 332-342, ISSN 0012-821X, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.epsl.2009.08.031. (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0012821X09005135)
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:72446
Collection:CaltechAUTHORS
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:30 Nov 2016 19:29
Last Modified:09 Mar 2020 13:18

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