The nature and significance of collapse processes in Capri, Eos, and Ganges Chasmata remain poorly understood. Using Ganges Chasma as a type locality, these chasmata are interpreted to be the result of clustering and assimilation of multiple chaotic terrains, which primarily formed by localized depressurization-induced or thermally-triggered dissociation of buried gas clathrate hydrates and explosive eruption of gas-saturated ground water. Such crustal destabilization could have been triggered by (1) deep fracture propagation from the Martian surface, (2) magmatic intrusions and associated heating and inflation-induced terrain fracturing, and/or (3) climatic thaw and thinning/weakening of the permafrost over the clathrate and gas-rich groundwater zones. Volume increases associated with release of gases contributed to the xpulsion of groundwater and fluidized sediments at the surface, thereby carving the higher outflow channels peripheral to the chasmata and the lower outflow channel floors of the chasmata and outflow channels. Copyright 2006 by the American Geophysical Union.
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Headward growth of chasmata by volatile outbursts, collapse, and drainage: Evidence from ganges chaos, Mars