STRUCTURAL ANALYSIS OF VALLES MARINERIS, MARS
Vargas Medina, Luis Eduardo
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Valles Marineris is the largest canyonland formation known in the solar system being ~4000 km long and up to 11 km deep, it is subparallel to the Martian equator and exposes the interior of the Tharsis province. The spurs on the walls were analyzed using digital elevation models to geometrically quantify their morphology and orientation, relying on methodologies such as dip analysis, relief and curvature analysis, and attitude analysis among others. These analyses permitted the documentation of indicators of structural influence on the walls which were then classified by the morphology and the type of faults from which they originate. Anomalous Planes (APs) are planar features that dip into the walls of a chasma and appear to be pre-existing fault planes within the Tharsis province. These faults are associated with the underlying structures of the Large Wrinkle Ridges (LWRs) located on Ophir Planum. An elastic dislocation model was used to corroborate that the APs can define the geometry of the underlying structure of the LWRs. Planetary grabens can be distinguished from sapping channels using their geometries. It is proposed that the formation of Coprates Chasma was the result of four individual smaller chasmata that later joined. This work shows the tools and criteria used to demonstrate that the formation of Valles Marineris was complex as reflected in the formation of the wall morphology. It is shown that the formation of the walls was influenced by pre-existent structures and chasma producing faults.