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 Applicability of dynamic facilitation theory to binary hard disk systems
08.12.2016 | Nagoya Institute of Technology

nachricht Will Earth still exist 5 billion years from now?
08.12.2016 | KU Leuven

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: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Closing the carbon loop

08.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Applicability of dynamic facilitation theory to binary hard disk systems

08.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

Scientists track chemical and structural evolution of catalytic nanoparticles in 3-D

08.12.2016 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>