|Diameter||1,800 km (1,100 mi)|
|Depth||5.2 km (17,000 ft)|
Argyre Planitia 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 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 crater Galle, located on the east rim of Argyre at , strongly resembles a smiley face.and lies between 35° and 61° S and 27° and 62° W in the
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.
Past water flows
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.
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.
The impact that formed the Argyre basin probably stuck an ice cap or a thick permafrost layer. Energy from the impact melted the ice and formed a giant lake that eventually sent water to the North. The lakes's volume was equal to that of Earth's Mediterranean Sea. The deepest part of the lake may have taken more than a hundred thousand years to freeze, but with the help of heat from the impact, geothermal heating, and dissolved solutes it may have had liquid water for many millions of years. The basin would have supported a regional environment favorable for the origin and the persistence of life. This region shows a great deal of evidence of glacial activity with flow features, crevasse-like fractues, drumlines, eskers, tarns, aretes, cirques, horns, U-shaped valleys, and terraces. Because of the shapes of Argyre sinuous ridges, the authors agree with previous publications in that they are eskers.
Based on morphometrical and geomorphological analysis of the Argyre eskers and their immediate surroundings, it was suggested that they formed beneath an approximately 2 km thick, stagnant (i.e., stationary) ice sheet around 3.6 billion years ago. This stagnant body of ice might have resembled a Piedmont-style glacier comparable to today's Malaspina Glacier in Alaska.
Gullies south of Argyre appear to be unequivocal evidence of water erosion.
Scene in Argyre quadrangle with gullies, alluvival fans, and hollows, as seen by HiRISE under HiWish program. Enlargements of parts of this image are below.
- Officially, Argyre is an albedo feature.
- "Argyre Planitia". Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature. USGS Astrogeology Science Center. Retrieved 2013-11-29.
- "Argyre". Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature. USGS Astrogeology Science Center. Retrieved 2013-11-29.
- 'Topography and morphology of the Argyre Basin, Mars.' Hiesinger & Head.
- Argyre Planitia and the Mars Global Hydrologic Cycle'. Parker et al.
- Fairén Alberto G.; Dohm James M.; Rodríguez J. Alexis P.; Uceda Esther R.; Kargel Jeffrey; Soare Richard; Cleaves H. James; Oehler Dorothy; Schulze-Makuch Dirk; Essefi Elhoucine; Banks Maria E.; Komatsu Goro; Fink Wolfgang; Robbins Stuart; Yan Jianguo; Miyamoto Hideaki; Maruyama Shigenori & Baker Victor R. (February 2016). "The Argyre Region as a Prime Target for in situ Astrobiological Exploration of Mars" (PDF). Astrobiology. 16 (2): 143–158. doi:10.1089/ast.2015.1396. Retrieved 2016-03-12.
- Dohm, J.; Hare, T.; Robbins, S.; Williams, J.-P.; Soare, R.; El-Maarry, M.; Conway, S.; Buczkowski, D.; Kargel, J.; Banks, M.; Fairén, A.; Schulze-Makuch, D.; Komatsu, G.; Miyamoto, H.; Anderson, R.; Davila, A.; Mahaney, W.; Fink, W.; Cleaves, H.; Yan, J.; Hynek, B.; Maruyama, S. (2015). "Geological and hydrological histories of the Argyre province, Mars". Icarus. 253: 66–98. Bibcode:2015Icar..253...66D. doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2015.02.017.
- Bernhardt, H.; Hiesinger, H.; Reiss, D.; Ivanov, M. A.; Erkeling, G. (2013). "Putative eskers and new insights into glacio-fluvial depositional settings in southern Argyre Planitia, Mars". Planetary and Space Science Conference. 85: 261–278. Bibcode:2013P&SS...85..261B. doi:10.1016/j.pss.2013.06.022.