Paleotopographic reconstructions based on a synthesis of published geologic information and high-resolution topography, including topographic profiles, reveal the potential existence of an enormous drainage basin/aquifer system in the eastern part of the Tharsis region during the Noachian Period. Large topographic highs formed the margin of the gigantic drainage basin. Subsequently, lavas, sediments, and volatiles partly infilled the basin, resulting in an enormous and productive regional aquifer. The stacked sequences of water-bearing strata were then deformed locally and, in places, exposed by magmatic-driven uplifts, tectonic deformation, and erosion. This basin model provides a potential source of water necessary to carve the large outflow channel systems of the Tharsis and surrounding regions and to contribute to the formation of putative northern-plains ocean(s) and/or paleolakes. Copyright 2001 by the American Geophysical Union.
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Ancient drainage basin of the Tharsis region, Mars: Potential source for outflow channel systems and putative oceans or paleolakes