Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Deep faults and disrupted crater at Acheron Fossae

10.05.2004


Credits: ESA/DLR/FU (G. Neukum)


Credits: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin (G. Neukum)


These images were taken by the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) on board ESA’s Mars Express of the Acheron Fossae region, an area of intensive tectonic (continental ‘plate’) activity in the past.

The images show traces of enormous stress and corresponding strain in the crust of the Red Planet. The HRSC was pointed twice at this interesting geological feature in the Acheron Fossae mountain range, during orbits 37 and 143.

The feature is situated at approximately 35º-40º North and 220º-230º East, about 1000 kilometres north of the large Olympus Mons volcano.



For practical use on the internet, the images have been reduced in their resolution – the data originally obtained from orbit at an altitude of 765 kilometres (orbit 37) and 1240 kilometres (orbit 143) have a resolution of 30 metres and 50 metres per pixel respectively.

The images in colour, high-resolution and 3D show spectacular curved depressions that have opened the surface, up to 1700 metres deep, through faulting in the Acheron mountain ranges.

In Greek mythology, Acheron is the river entering the underworld, the Hades, and ‘fossa’ is the Latin word for trough.

Acheron Fossae marks the northern edge of the Tharsis plateau. It is part of a network of extensional fractures that radiates outward from their central focus in the Tharsis ‘bulge’, a huge area of regional uplift where intensive volcanic activity occurred.

These curved ‘faults’ were caused in the process of this uplift: cracks in the crust formed when the hot material rising from deep in the mantle of Mars pushed the overlying ‘elastic’ lithosphere (surface layers of rock) upward. When the distorting tensions became too strong, the brittle crust on top of the lithosphere broke along zones of weakness.

Image 1, from orbit 37, are dominated by these curved features, showing a highly fractured, faulted and deformed area in the central part of the Acheron Fossae.

In geological terms, this is called a ‘horst and graben’ system. When several parallel faults form, the block of crust between them drops down, forming a ‘graben’. At Acheron, an almost classical example of parallel fault-bounded grabens has formed, dissected by remnants of the pre-existing topographical heights, the ‘horsts’.

Images 2, with the large crater, 55 kilometres in diameter, were taken about 250 kilometres west of images 1.

They show how the rifting crosses the older impact crater with at least three alternating horsts and grabens.

The Acheron Fossae region can be compared to rift zones on Earth, where continental plates spread apart, as is known from the Kenyan Rift Valley in eastern Africa.

The 3D capability of the HRSC instrument allows geologists to investigate in great detail these tectonic structures on Mars that could be similar to continental rifts on Earth.

From the edge of a horst in Acheron Fossae to the bottom of a graben, the digital elevation data from the HRSC reveal height differences of more than 1700 metres.

The large graben in the centre of the image is about 15 kilometres wide.

By viewing the 3D (anaglyph) images through stereoscopic glasses, you can see the different topographic levels from which material has been removed and then flowed to lower levels of terrain. Lobe-shaped features are indicative of viscous flow.

Erosional processes later transported material from the outside the area into the crater and resurfaced its floor, erasing the tectonic features inside the crater. The depth of the crater from rim to bottom is 2000 metres.

The colour and black and white images show the view looking straight down from the spacecraft; north is to the right. The perspective view shows the same region including some adjacent areas to the south without vertical exaggeration. The 3D images require stereoscopic glasses to view.

Roberto Lo Verde | ESA
Further information:
http://www.esa.int/SPECIALS/Mars_Express/SEMKRR77ESD_0.html

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Comet or asteroid? Hubble discovers that a unique object is a binary
21.09.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

nachricht First users at European XFEL
21.09.2017 | European XFEL GmbH

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

Im Focus: Fast, convenient & standardized: New lab innovation for automated tissue engineering & drug

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems Holding GmbH about commercial use of a multi-well tissue plate for automated and reliable tissue engineering & drug testing.

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Comet or asteroid? Hubble discovers that a unique object is a binary

21.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Cnidarians remotely control bacteria

21.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Monitoring the heart's mitochondria to predict cardiac arrest?

21.09.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>