Argyre Planitia

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Argyre MOLA zoom 64.jpg
Colorized topographic map of Argyre basin and its surroundings, from the MOLA instrument of Mars Global Surveyor.
Planet Mars
Coordinates 49°42′S 316°00′E / 49.7°S 316.0°E / -49.7; 316.0Coordinates: 49°42′S 316°00′E / 49.7°S 316.0°E / -49.7; 316.0
Diameter 1,800 km (1,100 mi)
Depth 5.2 km (17,000 ft)
Eponym Argyre

Argyre Planitia[1] is a plain located within the impact basin Argyre[a] in the southern highlands of Mars. Its name comes from a map produced by Giovanni Schiaparelli in 1877; it refers to Argyre, a mythical island of silver in Greek mythology.

Argyre is centered at 49°42′S 316°00′E / 49.7°S 316.0°E / -49.7; 316.0 and lies between 35° and 61° S and 27° and 62° W in the Argyre quadrangle. The basin is approximately 1,800 km (1,100 mi) wide and drops 5.2 km (17,000 ft) below the surrounding plains; it is the second deepest impact basin on Mars after Hellas.

The basin was possibly formed by a giant impact during the Late Heavy Bombardment of the early Solar System, approximately 3.9 billion years ago, and may be one of the best preserved ancient impact basins from that period. Argyre is surrounded by rugged massifs which form concentric and radial patterns around the basin. Several mountain ranges are present, including Charitum and Nereidum Montes.[3]

Four large Noachian epoch channels lie radial to the basin. Three of these channels (Surius Valles, Dzígai Valles, and Palacopas Valles) flowed into Argyre from the south and east through the rim mountains. The fourth, Uzboi Vallis, appears to have flowed out from the basin's north rim to the Chryse region and may have drained a lake of melting ice within the basin. A smaller outflow channel named Nia Valles is relatively fresh-looking, and probably formed during the early Amazonian after the major fluvial and lacustrine episodes had finished.[4]

The original basin floor is buried with friable, partially deflated layered material that may be lake sediment. No inner rings are visible; however, isolated massifs within the basin may be remnants of an inner ring.[3]

The southern rim of Argyre basin, formed by the Charitum Montes. Adjacent are sinuous ridges, theorized to be glacial eskers. The crater Galle is seen in the background.

The crater Galle, located on the east rim of Argyre at 51°S 31°W / 51°S 31°W / -51; -31, strongly resembles a smiley face.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Officially, Argyre is an albedo feature.[2]


  1. ^ "Argyre Planitia". Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature. USGS Astrogeology Science Center. Retrieved 2013-11-29. 
  2. ^ "Argyre". Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature. USGS Astrogeology Science Center. Retrieved 2013-11-29. 
  3. ^ a b Hiesinger & Head: Topography and morphology of the Argyre Basin, Mars
  4. ^ Parker et al.: Argyre Planitia and the Mars Global Hydrologic Cycle

External links[edit]