High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) imagery and digital elevation models of the Candor Chasma region of Valles Marineris, Mars, reveal prominent and distinctive positive-relief knobs amidst light-toned layers. Three classifications of knobs, Types 1, 2, and 3, are distinguished from a combination of HiRISE and Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) images based on physical expressions (geometries, spatial relationships), and spectral data from Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM). Type 1 knobs are abundant, concentrated, topographically resistant features with their highest frequency in West Candor, which have consistent stratigraphic correlations of the peak altitude (height). These Type 1 knobs could be erosional remnants of a simple dissected terrain, possibly derived from a more continuous, resistant, capping layer of pre-existing material diagenetically altered through recrystallization or cementation. Types 2 and 3 knobs are not linked to a single stratigraphic layer and are generally solitary to isolated, with variable heights. Type 3 are the largest knobs at nearly an order of magnitude larger than Type 1 knobs. The variable sizes and occasional pits on the tops of Type 2 and 3 knobs suggest a different origin, possibly related to more developed erosion, preferential cementation, or textural differences from sediment/water injection or intrusion, or from a buried impact crater. Enhanced color HiRISE images show a brown coloration of the knob peak crests that is attributable to processing and photometric effects; CRISM data do not show any detectable spectral differences between the knobs and the host rock layers, other than albedo. These intriguing knobs hold important clues to deducing relative rock properties, timing of events, and weathering conditions of Mars history. ?? 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Additional publication details
Geomorphic knobs of Candor Chasma, Mars: New Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter data and comparisons to terrestrial analogs