Publication Date

April 2015

Advisor(s)

Martha Gilmore

Major

Earth and Environmental Sciences

Language

English (United States)

Abstract

The mapped crater region of Mars is located in the Southern Highlands specifically in the Eridania basin between the latitudes 179ºW - 176 ºW and the longitudes 37 ºS - 40 ºS. The striking features within the mapping region are the two large, main craters, the east to west crosscutting Sirenum Fossae complex, the enigmatic chaotic terrain, and the north to south oriented wrinkle ridges. This study describes the geologic units of the region based on their unique morphological differences. Analysis of the units generated a geologic map of the area and an accompanying stratigraphic column placing the units into a relative age relationship. The resulting geologic map was produced using MOLA, CTX, THEMIS, and HiRISE images. By comparing the results to previous studies of the Martian surface, an interpretation of the geologic units and the processes that dominated their unique morphologies is determined. The final step of this study created a geologic history documenting the changing climate, depositional sequences, and structural influences that occurred within the mapping area. This analysis documents heavy tectonism, volcanism, eolian activity, fluvial activity, and lacustrine effects on the area. Also documented is a changing Martian climate from one that was warm and wet in the early history to one of a colder and dryer nature as time progressed.

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