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Morphology and geology of the ILD in Capri/Eos Chasma (Mars) from visible and infrared data

Abstract : Layered deposits have been observed in different locations at the surface of Mars, as crater floors and canyons systems. Their high interest relies in the fact they imply dynamical conditions in their deposition medium. Indeed, in opposition to most of the rocks of the martian surface, which have a volcanic origin, bright layered deposits seems to be sedimentary outcrops. Capri Chasma, a canyon located at the outlet of Valles Marineris, exhibits such deposits called Interior Layered Deposits (ILD). A large array of visible and infrared spacecraft data were used to build a Geographic Information System (GIS). We added HiRiSE images, from the recent MRO mission, which offer a spatial resolution of 25 cm per pixel. It allowed the mapping and the analysis of morphologies in the canyon. We highlighted that the ILD are several kilometers thick and flat-top stratified deposits. They overlap the chaotic floor. They are surrounded and cut by several flow features that imply that liquid water was still acting after the formation of these stratified deposits. The density of crater on the floor of Capri Chasma was quantified. The current topography was aged to 3 Gyr. All these morphological information allow us to suggest a plausible geological history for Capri Chasma. We propose that the Interior Layered Deposits have formed during the Hesperian, during or after the opening of the canyon. Some observations argue that water discharges have happened at several times before and just after the formation of the ILD. Liquid water must have played a major role in the formation of these deposits after 3.5 Gyr, implying that it was present in surface at least locally and temporarily. If this can be applied to ILD in others canyons of Valles Marineris, it would imply that liquid water was stable in surface or sub-surface during the Hesperian. Or in the actual conditions, with a cold and dry martian surface, long-term standing water bodies are not possible. Thus we suggest that either the climate at the Hesperian was cold, but wetter, or as warm as the Noachian climate, what is less likely. Nevertheless, the global climate change which has occurred at the beginning of Mars history may have been later than announced
Mots-clés : Mars Surface
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Submitted on : Tuesday, February 21, 2012 - 9:12:35 AM
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Jessica Flahaut, Cathy Quantin, Pascal Allemand, Pierre Thomas. Morphology and geology of the ILD in Capri/Eos Chasma (Mars) from visible and infrared data. Icarus, Elsevier, 2010, 207 (1), pp.175-185. ⟨10.1016/j.icarus.2009.11.019⟩. ⟨insu-00672315⟩

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