Deformation of sedimentary rocks is widespread within Valles Marineris, characterized by both plastic and brittle deformation identified in Candor, Melas, and Ius Chasmata. We identified four deformation styles using HiRISE and CTX images: kilometer-scale convolute folds, detached slabs, folded strata, and pull-apart structures. Convolute folds are detached rounded slabs of material with alternating dark- and light-toned strata and a fold wavelength of about 1 km. The detached slabs are isolated rounded blocks of material, but they exhibit only highly localized evidence of stratification. Folded strata are composed of continuously folded layers that are not detached. Pull-apart structures are composed of stratified rock that has broken off into small irregularly shaped pieces showing evidence of brittle deformation. Some areas exhibit multiple styles of deformation and grade from one type of deformation into another. The deformed rocks are observed over thousands of kilometers, are limited to discrete stratigraphic intervals, and occur over a wide range in elevations. All deformation styles appear to be of likely thin-skinned origin. CRISM reflectance spectra show that some of the deformed sediments contain a component of monohydrated and polyhydrated sulfates. Several mechanisms could be responsible for the deformation of sedimentary rocks in Valles Marineris, such as subaerial or subaqueous gravitational slumping or sliding and soft sediment deformation, where the latter could include impact-induced or seismically induced liquefaction. These mechanisms are evaluated based on their expected pattern, scale, and areal extent of deformation. Deformation produced from slow subaerial or subaqueous landsliding and liquefaction is consistent with the deformation observed in Valles Marineris.
Additional publication details
Thin-skinned deformation of sedimentary rocks in Valles Marineris, Mars