Gradients on the floors of the Martian outflow channels that are derived from radar-elevation profiles across Lunae Planum and Chryse Basin have much lower values than those obtained from the U.S. Geological Survey's topographic map. Whereas the gradients of Maja and Ares Valles are similar to those of the catastrophic flood channels in the Scablands of Washington State, the gradients of Simud and Tiu Valles are essentially level, and the movement of fluids to the N poses problems. It is proposed that ponding may have formed lakes in depressions associated with the Valles Marineris grabens, ancient craters in the chaotic terrain area, and possibly even the regional low where most chaotic terrains occur. It is envisaged that lakes eventually overflowed, forming the present channels. When dams broke, floods were released catastrophically, with a final gigantic flood from the Valles Marineris system of troughs, which would have had sufficient head to move fluids across nearly level gradients through the Simud and Tiu channels. -P.Br.
Additional Publication Details
Chryse Basin channels: low-gradients and ponded flows.