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Searching for evidence of hydrothermal activity at Apollinaris Mons, Mars

Icarus

By:
, , , , , , , and
DOI: 10.1016/j.icarus.2011.10.022

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Abstract

A multidisciplinary approach involving various remote sensing instruments is used to investigate Apollinaris Mons, a prominent volcano on Mars, as well as the surrounding plains for signs of prolonged hydrologic and volcanic, and possibly hydrothermal activity. The main findings include (1) evidence from laser altimetry indicating the large thickness (1.5–2 km at some locations) of the fan deposits draping the southern flank contrary to previous estimates, coupled with possible layering which point to a significant emplacement phase at Apollinaris Mons, (2) corroboration of Robinson et al. (Robinson, M.S., Mouginis-Mark, P.J., Zimbelman, J.R., Wu, S.S.C., Ablin, K.K., Howington-Kraus, A.E. [1993]. Icarus 104, 301–323) hypothesis regarding the formation of incised valleys on the western flanks by density current erosion which would indicate magma–water interaction or, alternatively, volatile-rich magmas early in the volcano’s history, (3) mounds of diverse geometric shapes, many of which display summit depressions and occur among faults and fractures, possibly marking venting, (4) strong indicators on the flanks of the volcano for lahar events, and possibly, a caldera lake, (5) ubiquitous presence of impact craters displaying fluidized ejecta in both shield-forming (flank and caldera) materials and materials that surround the volcano that are indicative of water-rich target materials at the time of impact, (6) long-term complex association in time among shield-forming materials and Medusae Fossae Formation.


The findings point to a site of extensive volcanic and hydrologic activity with possibly a period of magma–water interaction and hydrothermal activity. Finally, we propose that the mound structures around Apollinaris should be prime targets for further in situ exploration and search for possible exobiological signatures.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Searching for evidence of hydrothermal activity at Apollinaris Mons, Mars
Series title:
Icarus
DOI:
10.1016/j.icarus.2011.10.022
Volume
217
Issue:
1
Year Published:
2012
Language:
English
Publisher:
Elsevier
Publisher location:
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Contributing office(s):
Astrogeology Science Center
Description:
18 p.
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Icarus
First page:
297
Last page:
314
Number of Pages:
18
Other Geospatial:
Mars;Apollinaris Mons