STRUCTURAL ANALYSIS, LAYER THICKNESS MEASUREMENTS AND MINERALOGICAL INVESTIGATION OF THE LARGE INTERIOR LAYERED DEPOSIT WITHIN GANGES CHASMA, VALLES MARINERIS, MARS
The interior layered deposit (ILD) in Ganges Chasma, Valles Marineris, is a 4.25 km high mound that extends approximately 110 km from west to east. The deposition, deformation, and erosion history of the Ganges ILD records aids in identifying the processes that formed and shaped the Chasma. To interpret structural and geomorphic processes acting on the ILD, multiple layer attitudes and layer thickness transects were conducted on the Ganges ILD. Mineralogical data was analyzed to determine correlations between materials and landforms. Layer thickness measurements indicate that the majority of layers are between 0.5 m and 4 m throughout the ILD. Three major benches dominate the Ganges ILD. Layer thicknesses increase at the ILD benches, suggesting that the benches are formed from the gradual thickening of layers. This indicates that the benches are depositional features draping over basement topography. Layer attitudes indicate overall shallow dips generally confined to a North-South direction that locally appear to follow bench topography. Layering is disrupted on a scale of 40 m to 150 m in 12 separate locations throughout the ILD. In all locations, underlying layering is disturbed by overlying folded layers in a trough-like geometry. These features are interpreted to have formed as submarine channels in a lacustrine setting, subsequently infilled by sediments. Subsequently, the channels were eroded to the present topography, resulting in the thin, curved layering observed. Data cannot conclusively support one ILD formation hypothesis, but does indicate that the Ganges ILD postdates Chasma formation. The presence of water altered minerals, consistently thin layering, and layer orientations provide strong evidence that the ILD formed in a lacustrine setting.