Archaeology / Cultural Heritage

[Archaeology] [twocolumns]

Anthropology / Human Evolution

[Anthropology] [twocolumns]

Palaeontology / Earth Sciences

[Palaeontology] [twocolumns]

Evolution / Genetics

[Evolution][twocolumns]

A record of ancient tectonic stress on Mars


Sets of ridges and troughs some 1000 km north of the giant Olympus Mons volcano contain a record of the intense tectonic stresses and strains experienced in the Acheron Fossae region on Mars 3.7–3.9 billion years ago.

A record of ancient tectonic stress on Mars
This part of Acheron Fossae was imaged by the High Resolution Stereo Camera on ESA’s Mars Express on 4 May 2016 
during orbit 15641. The image is centred on 36ºN/142ºW and the ground resolution is about 18 m per pixel 
[Credit: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO]
This scene, captured by ESA's Mars Express on 4 May, focuses on the western part of Acheron Fossae, an isolated block of ancient terrain that covers an area about 800 km long and 280 km wide and stands up to 2 km higher than the surrounding plains.

Acheron Fossae is part of a network of fractures that radiates from the Tharsis 'bulge' some 1000 km to the south, home to the largest volcanoes on Mars. As the Tharsis region swelled with hot material rising from deep inside Mars as the volcanoes formed, it stretched and pulled apart the crust along lines of weakness over a wide area.

A record of ancient tectonic stress on Mars
The colour-coded topographic view shows relative heights and depths of terrain in the western portion of the Acheron 
Fossae region on Mars. Browns and whites represent the highest terrain (lower left), which transition through red, 
to yellow, green and blue in the upper right, representing progressively lower terrain. The image is based on 
a digital terrain model of the region, from which the topography of the landscape can be derived. The region 
was imaged by the High Resolution Stereo Camera on ESA’s Mars Express on 4 May 2016 during orbit 15641. 
The image is centred on 36ºN/142ºW and the ground resolution is about 18 m per pixel 
[Credit: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO]
This process gave rise to the classic 'horst and graben' system – a series of depressions (graben) bounded by faults and uplifted blocks (horsts) either side of the graben.

The pattern of cross-cutting faults seen in various places in Acheron Fossae implies the region experienced stresses from different directions over time, suggesting a complex history.

A record of ancient tectonic stress on Mars
This anaglyph image showing part of the Acheron Fossae region on Mars provides a 3D view of the landscape when 
viewed using stereoscopic glasses with red–green or red–blue filters. The image is based on data acquired by the nadir 
channel and one stereo channel of the High Resolution Stereo Camera on Mars Express on 4 May 2016 during 
orbit 15641. The main image is centred on 36ºN/142ºW and the ground resolution is about 18 m per pixel
[Credit: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO]
Part of a dominant, curved ridge that extends through the entire region is seen in the lower left of the scene. It may be an ancient graben that has since been filled with material that has flowed along it, possibly from rock-laden glaciers that were deposited in more recent cold climatic conditions, long after the graben itself formed.

Acheron Fossae has been likened to Earth's continental rift systems. Major rift zones on Earth are associated with plate tectonics, such as mid-ocean ridges that are spreading apart.

A record of ancient tectonic stress on Mars
This context image shows part of Acheron Fossae on Mars imaged by Mars Express 
on 4 May 2016 during orbit 15641 (outlined by the large white box) 
[Credit: NASA MGS MOLA Science Team]
On Mars, rifts are important for studies of the general evolution of the crust as well as the thermal evolution of the deeper subsurface.

Source: European Space Agency [November 03, 2016]
TANN

Post A Comment
  • Blogger Comment using Blogger
  • Facebook Comment using Facebook
  • Disqus Comment using Disqus

No comments :


Exhibitions / Travel

[Exhibitions] [bsummary]

Natural Heritage / Environment / Wildlife

[Natural Heritage] [list]

Astronomy / Astrobiology / Space Exploration

[Universe] [list]