All Martian channels and valleys visible at a resolution of 125 to 300 meters between 65??N and 65??S were mapped at a scale of 1:5,000,000 and the maps then digitized. Correlations of valley presence with other surface features show that almost all valleys are in the old cratered terrain. preferentially in areas of low albedo, low violet/red ratios, and high elevation. The networks are open, the individual drainage basins are small relative to Earth, and large distances separate the basins, features which all suggest an immature drainage system. The simplest explanation of the correlations and the restriction of valley networks to old terrain is that the channels themselves are old, and that the climatic conditions necessary for their formation did not prevail for long after the decline in the cratering rate around 3.9 billion years ago. Two types of outflow channel are distinguished: unconfined, in which broad swaths of terrain are scoured, and confined, in which flow is restricted to discrete channels. The outflow channels have a wide range of ages and may form under present climatic conditions. Fretted channels are largely restrited to two latitude belts centered on 40??N and 45??S, where relatively rapid erosion along escarpments results from mass wasting. They probably form by enlargement of preexisting channels by escarpment retreat. ?? 1981.
Additional Publication Details
Martian channels and valleys: Their characteristics, distribution, and age