We present two photoclinometric profiles across a trough in the martian northern polar layered terrain. Complications caused by albedo variations were avoided by using an early springtime Viking image with a thin cover of seasonal CO2 frost. The topographic profiles were constrained with stereogrammetric elevations derived from summertime Viking images of the same region. We find that the photoclinometric profiles are consistent with a nearby MOLA (Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter) track crossing the same polar trough. The trough is asymmetric, with higher relief and a steeper slope on the equatorward-facing wall. Individual layers are subdued and difficult to observe in the profiles. A decrease in both relief and elevation toward the eastern end of the trough suggests that layers become thinner to the east. Declining equatorward slopes in the eastern portion of the trough imply that erosion rates have varied along the trough. The variation in erosion rate may be linked to the change in layer thickness along the trough. Layers have an average thickness of 19??8 m in the center of the trough and 59??32 m on the northern wall. The northern wall is most likely composed of thinner layers that are obscured. To first order, we find that a 19-m layer requires 16,000 years of deposition to form. Although this timescale does not coincide with orbital variation periods of 105 and 106 years, deposition rates may not be constant and thus the 16,000-year layer formation time does not preclude layer formation during part of each orbital oscillation. ?? 2000 Academic Press.
Additional publication details
Topography and Stratigraphy of the Northern Martian Polar Layered Deposits Using Photoclinometry, Stereogrammetry, and MOLA Altimetry