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Episodic flood inundations of the northern plains of Mars

Fairén, Alberto G. and Dohm, James M. and Baker, Victor R. and Pablo Hernández, Miguel Ángel de and Ruiz Pérez, Javier and Ferris, Justin C. and Anderson, Robert C. (2003) Episodic flood inundations of the northern plains of Mars. Icarus (New York, N.Y. 1991), 165 . pp. 53-67. ISSN 1054-1381

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Abstract

Throughout the recorded history of Mars, liquid water has distinctly shaped its landscape, including the prominent circum-Chryse and the
northwestern slope valleys outflow channel systems, and the extremely flat northern plains topography at the distal reaches of these outflow
channel systems. Paleotopographic reconstructions of the Tharsis magmatic complex reveal the existence of an Europe-sized Noachian
drainage basin and subsequent aquifer system in eastern Tharsis. This basin is proposed to have sourced outburst floodwaters that sculpted the
outflow channels, and ponded to form various hypothesized oceans, seas, and lakes episodically through time. These floodwaters decreased
in volume with time due to inadequate groundwater recharge of the Tharsis aquifer system. Martian topography, as observed from the Mars
Orbiter Laser Altimeter, corresponds well to these ancient flood inundations, including the approximated shorelines that have been proposed
for the northern plains. Stratigraphy, geomorphology, and topography record at least one great Noachian-Early Hesperian northern plains
ocean, a Late Hesperian sea inset within the margin of the high water marks of the previous ocean, and a number of widely distributed
minor lakes that may represent a reduced Late Hesperian sea, or ponded waters in the deepest reaches of the northern plains related to minor
Tharsis- and Elysium-induced Amazonian flooding.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Mars; Tharsis floods; Oceans; Lakes
Subjects:Sciences > Geology > Geodynamics
ID Code:10431
Deposited On:14 Apr 2010 15:15
Last Modified:23 Aug 2010 12:01

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