The north polar region of Mars is dominated by Planum Boreum, a roughly circular, domical plateau that rises >2,500 m above the surrounding lowland. Planum Boreum is >1,500 km in diameter, contains deep, curvilinear troughs and chasmata, isolated cavi, and marginal scarps and slopes. The north polar plateau is surrounded by low-lying and nearly horizontal plains of various surface texture, geologic origin, and stratigraphic significance. The MTM 85200 quadrangle spans 5° of latitude (lat 82.5° to 87.5° N.) and 40° of longitude (long 140° to 180° E.) within the eastern hemisphere of Mars. The quadrangle includes the high-standing Planum Boreum, curvilinear troughs of Boreales Scopuli, deep, sinuous scarps of Olympia Rupes, isolated and coalesced depressions of Olympia Cavi, margins of the circular polar erg Olympia Undae, and low-standing Olympia Planum. The surface of Planum Boreum within the MTM 85200 quadrangle is characterized by smoothly sculptured landforms with shallow slopes and variable relief at kilometer scales. Areas that are perennially covered with bright frost are generally smooth and planar at 100-m scales. However, MGS MOC and MRO HiRISE images show that much of the icy polar plateau is rough at decameter scale. The Martian polar plateaus are likely to contain a record of global climate history for >107 to as much as ~3 x 109 years. This record is partly observable as rhythmically layered deposits exposed in the curvilinear troughs of the north polar plateau, Planum Boreum. The north polar layered deposits are widely interpreted to be among the most youthful bedrock deposits on the Martian surface. These materials and their stratigraphic and structural relations provide a glimpse into some of the more recent geologic processes that have occurred on Mars. The ability of the massive polar deposits to periodically trap and release both volatiles and lithic particles may represent a globally important, recurring geologic process for Mars.
Additional Publication Details
USGS Numbered Series
Geologic map of the MTM 85200 quadrangle, Olympia Rupes region of Mars
Scientific Investigations Map
U.S. Geological Survey
Astrogeology Science Center
i, 12; ill., map; Map: 1 Sheet: 44.00 x 34.00 inches; TXT Download of Readme; Metadata Folder; ZIP Download of GIS Database