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 First Juno science results supported by University of Leicester's Jupiter 'forecast'
26.05.2017 | University of Leicester

nachricht Measured for the first time: Direction of light waves changed by quantum effect
24.05.2017 | Vienna University of Technology

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: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

First Juno science results supported by University of Leicester's Jupiter 'forecast'

26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>