Cerberus Fossae

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Cerberus Fossae
Cerberus fossae.jpg
A 3km section of the Cerberus Fossae fissure, taken by the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC)
Coordinates 11°54′N 188°48′W / 11.9°N 188.8°W / 11.9; -188.8Coordinates: 11°54′N 188°48′W / 11.9°N 188.8°W / 11.9; -188.8
Length 1,630.0 km
Naming From albedo feature
at 10n, 212W. Changed
from Cerberus Rupes.

The Cerberus Fossae are a series of semi-parallel fissures on Mars formed by faults which pulled the crust apart in the Cerberus region (9°N, 197°W). Ripples seen at the bottom of the fault are sand blown by the wind [1]. The underlying cause for the faulting was magma pressure related to the formation of the Elysium volcanic field, located to the northwest. The faults pass through pre-existing features such as hills, indicating that it is a younger feature [2]. The formation of the fossae is suspected to have released pressurised underground water, previously confined by the cryosphere, with flow rates up to 2 × 106 m3s−1, leading to the creation of the Athabasca Valles.[1][2][3] Marte Vallis is another channel that was formed from water released from Cerberus Fossae.[4]

A 2005 photo of a locale within Elysium Planitia at 5° N, 150° E by the Mars Express spacecraft shows what may be ash-covered water ice. The volume of ice is estimated to be 800 km (500 mi) by 900 km (560 mi) in size and 45 m (148 ft) deep, similar in size and depth to the North Sea.[5] The ice is thought to be the remains of water floods from the Cerberus Fossae fissures about 2 to 10 million years ago. The surface of the area is broken into 'plates' like broken ice floating on a lake. Impact crater counts show that the plates are up to 1 million years older than the gap material, showing that the area solidified much too slowly for the material to be basaltic lava.[6]

However, early radar analysis suggests there's no evidence of 'pack ice' tens of metres thick as hypothesised based on the images from Mars Express of the area. This is in support of the US view of images of the area, based on impact crater morphology which do not show any evidences of meteorite hitting anything but solid stone lava fields[7] Other researchers have found evidence of past ice in the area; they believe that lava flows may not have been involved.[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ James W. Head; Lionel Wilson; Karl L. Mitchell (2003). "Generation of recent massive water floods at Cerberus Fossae, Mars by dike emplacement, cryospheric cracking, and confined aquifer groundwater release". Geophysical Research Letters 30 (11): 2265. Bibcode:2003GeoRL..30k..31H. doi:10.1029/2003GL017135. 
  2. ^ Cabrol, N. and E. Grin (eds.). 2010. Lakes on Mars. Elsevier. NY
  3. ^ Burr, D. et al. 2002. Repeated aqueous flooding from the Cerberus Fossae: evidence for very recently extant deep groundwater on Mars. Icarus. 159: 53-73.
  4. ^ Gareth, A. B. Campbell, L. Carter, J. Plaut, R. Phillips. 2013. 3D Reconstruction of the Source and Scale of Buried Young Flood Channels on Mars. Science, March 7, DOI:10.1126/Science.1234787
  5. ^ Young, Kelly (2005-02-25). "'Pack ice' suggests frozen sea on Mars". New Scientist. Retrieved 2007-01-30. 
  6. ^ John B. Murray et al., JB; Muller, JP; Neukum, G; Werner, SC; Van Gasselt, S; Hauber, E; Markiewicz, WJ; Head Jw, 3rd et al. (17 March 2007). "Evidence ... for a frozen sea close to Mars' equator". Nature 434 (7031): 352–355. Bibcode:2005Natur.434..352M. doi:10.1038/nature03379. PMID 15772653. 
  7. ^ 1866.PDF
  8. ^ Cabrol, N. and E. Grin (eds.). 2010. Lakes on Mars. Elsevier. NY

See also[edit]