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 Black hole spin cranks-up radio volume
15.01.2018 | National Institutes of Natural Sciences

nachricht The universe up close
15.01.2018 | Georg-August-Universität Göttingen

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: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.

Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...

Im Focus: A thermometer for the oceans

Measurement of noble gases in Antarctic ice cores

The oceans are the largest global heat reservoir. As a result of man-made global warming, the temperature in the global climate system increases; around 90% of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

White graphene makes ceramics multifunctional

16.01.2018 | Materials Sciences

Breaking bad metals with neutrons

16.01.2018 | Materials Sciences

ISFH-CalTeC is “designated test centre” for the confirmation of solar cell world records

16.01.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>