2007 GSA Denver Annual Meeting (28–31 October 2007)
Paper No. 197-3
Presentation Time: 8:40 AM-8:55 AM

RECENT ADVANCES IN MARS TECTONICS THROUGH THE EYE OF HIRISE

OKUBO, Chris, Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, University of Arizona, 1541 East University Blvd, Tucson, AZ 85721, chriso@lpl.arizona.edu, WRAY, James J., School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Georgia Institute of Technology, 311 Ferst Drive, Atlanta, GA 30332, JAEGER, Windy, Astrogeology Team, U.S. Geological Survey, 2255 N. Gemini Dr, Flagstaff, AZ 86001, MCEWEN, Alfred, Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, Univ of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721-0092, and TEAM, HiRISE Science, Planetary Sciences, University of Arizona, University Blvd, Tucson, AZ 85721

HiRISE data are revealing a new scale of opportunities for studying the tectonic evolution of Mars. Since the beginning of MRO's Primary Science Phase in November 2006, HiRISE has imaged the surface of Mars at pixel widths of 24 to 36 cm, and with signal to noise ratios that are typically better than 100:1. At this scale and fidelity, fractures with sub–meter displacements can be detected and meter–scale displacements can be resolved.

Analyses of these data have revealed the along–strike displacement distributions for joints in layered deposits and dikes in the wall rock in Valles Marineris. These profiles show how opening–mode displacements scale with fracture length on Mars and have enabled calculations of material strength from fracture population strain. Digital elevation models from stereo HiRISE observations will enable more extensive measurements of bedding attitudes, fault orientations and sense of offset, and fault displacement distributions.

A notable recent finding is the identification of deformation bands in equatorial layered deposits. This class of discontinuities is an important precursor to the development of frictionally slipping faults in granular materials. Additionally, the damage zones and process zones that these bands form are known to act as either impediments or conduits to fluid flow in subsurface reservoirs on Earth. Thus recognition of deformation bands on Mars is a significant step toward unraveling the history of faulting and groundwater migration through the planet's layered sedimentary deposits.

HiRISE color data allows for spatial variability in albedo due to compositional variation to be discerned from topographic shading. Based on this color data, evidence of bleaching and cementation along fractures within the layered deposits of Candor Chasma was recognized in one of the earliest HiRISE images. Subsequent imagery has revealed that evidence of bleaching, staining by dark toned precipitates, and preferential induration along faults and fractures is common throughout the layered deposits of not only Valles Marineris, but also elsewhere such as in Meridiani Planum and Nili Fossae. Insight into the evolution of groundwater chemistry over time, and implications for past habitability and future landing site selection, will be gained through analyses of these diagenetic fingerprints.

2007 GSA Denver Annual Meeting (28–31 October 2007)
General Information for this Meeting
Session No. 197
Advanced Remote Sensing of the Earth, Moon, and Mars: Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and Other Platforms
Colorado Convention Center: 406
8:00 AM-12:00 PM, Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 39, No. 6, p. 528

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