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Evidence for an ice sheet/frozen lake in Utopia Planitia, MarsPrevious workers noted evidence for a lacustrine basin in Utopia Planitia, Mars. Geomorphic features within the basin that collectively suggest that water or ice may once have been present include channels within the basin, channels peripheral to the basin, etched basin floor, 'thumbprint' terrain (whorled patterns), polygonal outlines, smooth floors (infilled), shoreline indicators (terraces, platforms, lineaments), and small cratered cones (pseudo craters or pingos). The authors interpret these data to suggest that the basin may have been the locus of a large paleolake in the northern lowlands of Mars. Alternatively, the area was proposed to be part of an ancient circumpolar ocean. The hypothetical paleolake was probably frozen to some depth. In fact, features now present at its boundaries suggest that the edges may have been frozen solid. Plains units at the southwestern boundary of Utopia Planitia show ridges that were compared with those that form at the mouths of Antarctic ice streams, thumbprint terrain, and young, high deposits having lobate margins that suggest mudflows. Thumbprint terrains were interpreted as recessional moraines, ice-pushed ridges, or subglacially eroded tunnel valleys with eroded eskers. At the east boundary of Utopia Planitia, geologic mapping at 1:500,000 scale of the Granicus Valles area (MTM quadrangles 30227, 30222, and 25227) indicates the presence of a basal scarp around the northwest flank of Elysium that formed the east boundary of an ancient ice sheet.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Chapman, M. G. (Geological Survey Flagstaff, AZ, United States)
Date Acquired
September 6, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1993
Publication Information
Publication: Lunar and Planetary Inst., Workshop on the Martian Northern Plains: Sedimentological, Periglacial, and Paleoclimatic Evolution
Subject Category
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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