Discontinuities in the shallow Martian crust at Lunae, Syria, and Sinai Plana

Journal of Geophysical Research



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Detailed photoclinometric profiles across 125 erosional features and 141 grabens in the western equatorial region of Mars indicate the presence of three discontinuities within the shallow crust, at depths of 0.3, 0.6 km, 1 km, and 2-3 km. The shallowest discontinuity corresponds to thickness estimates for the ridged plains unit in this region, and thus the discontinuity probably is the contact between a sequence of layered rock making up this unit and the underlying megaregolith. The 1-km discontinuity is reflected in the base levels of erosion of all the features studied, and it may correspond to the base of the proposed layer of ground ice. Model calculations show that graben-bounding faults consistently intersect at the mechanical discontinuity at about 1 km depth. This discontinuity may represent an interface between ice-laden and dry regolith, ice-laden and water-laden regolith, or pristine and cemented regolith. A correlation between wall valley head depth and local thickness of the faulted layer suggests that the 1-km discontinuity also controlled the depth of the heads of sapping canyons. The third discontinuity, at a depth of 2-3 km, corresponds to the proposed base of the Martian megaregolith and is probably the interface between overlying, ejected breccia and in situ, fractured basement rocks. -from Authors

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Discontinuities in the shallow Martian crust at Lunae, Syria, and Sinai Plana
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Journal of Geophysical Research
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Journal of Geophysical Research