Do Large Impact Basins in the Southern Hemisphere of Mars Control the Distribution of Polar Structures and Deposits?
Among the outstanding problems in Martian geology are the cause of the off-axis and asymmetric distribution of the southern polar layered terrain and residual ice deposits and the cause of the orientation of scarps, valleys, and re-entrant canyons which occur there. A perhaps related problem region is the apparently small number of large (D greater than 500 km) impact basins seen in the relatively well-preserved cratered terrain of the south polar region. Previously only the 850 km wide South Polar Basin was easily recognized. The south polar region was mapped in detail, searching for evidence of ancient, highly degraded impact basins that may have escaped earlier notice, for two reasons: (1) to determine whether the apparent absence of large impact basins is due to incomplete mapping and recognition or a fundamental characteristic of the Martian crust related to the origin of the Martian crustal dichotomy, and (2) to determine whether ancient impact basins, if they exist, exert some control on the distribution of volcanic and polar deposits in the southern hemisphere and on the topography on which these deposits lie. Several promising candidates, including a large pre-Hellas basin in the Malea Planum region and an older but comparably sized basin overlapping South Polar, were previously described. Concentration is on the possible influence of the candidate basins in localizing the asymmetric distribution of polar deposits and in controlling the orientation of structures found within these deposits.
Lunar and Planetary Science Conference
- Pub Date:
- March 1993
- Mars Surface;
- Planetary Crusts;
- Planetary Geology;
- Structural Basins;
- Mars (Planet);
- Polar Regions;
- Lunar and Planetary Exploration