Floods from fossae: A review of amazonian-aged extensional-tectonic megaflood channels on mars

Devon M. Burr, Lionel Wilson, Alistair S. Bargery

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

23 Scopus citations


Summary. The four youngest megaflood channels on Mars – Mangala Valles, Marte Vallis, Grjotá Valles and Athabasca Valles – date to the Amazonian Period and originate at fissures. The channels show common in-channel morphological indications of flood activity (streamlined forms, longitudinal lineations, scour), as well as evidence for volcanic, tectonic, sedimentary and/or glacial/ground ice processes. The fissure sources and channel termini have varied expressions, suggesting various triggering mechanisms and fates for the floodwaters. Possible triggering mechanisms include magmatic processes (dyke intrusion), tectonic processes (extensional faulting) and a combination of both types of processes. Surface morphology suggests that each of these mechanisms may have operated at different times and locations. Upon reaching the surface, the water likely would have fountained at least a few tens of metres above the surface, producing some water and/or ice droplets at the fountain margins. The likely sources of the floodwater are subsurface aquifers of a few kilometres' thickness and a few tens of degrees Celsius in temperature. Introduction. Megaflooding on Mars has varied in origin and amount throughout the history of the planet. During the Noachian Period, the most ancient period, flooding originated from crater basins (Irwin and Grant, this volume Chapter 11). During the Early Hesperian Epoch, megafloods originated at chaos terrain often set within Valles Marineris chasmata (Coleman and Baker, this volume Chapter 9). During the Amazonian Period, the most recent period, megaflooding originated from fossae produced by extensional tectonism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMegaflooding on Earth and Mars
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9780511635632
ISBN (Print)9780521868525
StatePublished - Jan 1 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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