GEOMORPHOLOGICAL MAPPING OF LAVA FLOWS ON MERCURY, EARTH, AND MARS
We have mapped lava flows on three planets, Mercury, Earth, and Mars. These mapped lava flows are significant components in multiple projects. The mapping on Mercury is being used in the investigation of differences between the interior and exterior plains of the Caloris impact basin, and what these flows can tell us about their magma source(s). We have mapped two lava flows on Earth, the McCartys flow in New Mexico, USA, and the Laki flow in Iceland, for use in numerical modeling of lava flows as terrestrial analogue studies for comparable flows on Mars. The mapping of lava flows in the Cerberus Plains on Mars had a twofold goal. The first was to delineate the extent of three 1000+ km long lava flows and use their surface age relationships, derived from crater-counting techniques, to infer their magma source(s). The second was to set the boundaries for numerical modeling of the lava flows, based on the results derived from the terrestrial analogue work done in New Mexico and Iceland. This numerical modeling is being used to determine the initial conditions for the emplacement of these lava flows, and which component of the lava controls the development of long lava flows.
Though the datasets differ, we use common techniques to accomplish our goals. These projects are fundamentally based on geomorphological mapping and highlight the utility of comparative mapping across multiple planets.