Paleolakes of Northeast Hellas: Precipitation, Groundwater-Fed, and Fluvial Lakes in the Navua-Hadriacus-Ausonia Region, Mars
The slopes of northeastern Hellas Basin, Mars exhibit a wide variety of fluvial landforms. In addition to the Dao-Niger-Harmakhis-Reull Valles outflow channels, many smaller channels and valleys cut into this terrain, several of which include discontinuous sections. We have mapped these channels and channel-associated depressions to investigate potential paleolakes from the Navua Valles in the West, through the Hadriacus Mons volcano in the center, to the Ausonia Montes in the East. We have identified three groups of candidate paleolakes at the source regions of major drainages and a fourth paleolake type scattered along the lower reaches of these drainages. Each paleolake group has a distinct character, determined by different formative processes, including precipitation and groundwater for lakes at the channel sources, and fluvially transported water at the lower channel reaches. Only one of these 34 basins had been cataloged previously in paleolake basin databases. Several of these sites are at proximity to the Hadriacus volcanic center, where active dikes during the Hesperian could have produced hydrothermal systems and habitable environments. Deposits within these paleolake depressions and at the termini of channels connected to these candidate paleolakes contain the geological and potentially biological record of these environments.