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Nature. 2004 Dec 23;432(7020):971-9.

Recent and episodic volcanic and glacial activity on Mars revealed by the High Resolution Stereo Camera.

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  • 1Institut fuer Geologische Wissenschaften, Freie Universitaet Berlin, Malteserstrasse 74-100, Bldg D, 12249 Berlin, Germany. gneukum@zedat.fu-berlin.de

Abstract

The large-area coverage at a resolution of 10-20 metres per pixel in colour and three dimensions with the High Resolution Stereo Camera Experiment on the European Space Agency Mars Express Mission has made it possible to study the time-stratigraphic relationships of volcanic and glacial structures in unprecedented detail and give insight into the geological evolution of Mars. Here we show that calderas on five major volcanoes on Mars have undergone repeated activation and resurfacing during the last 20 per cent of martian history, with phases of activity as young as two million years, suggesting that the volcanoes are potentially still active today. Glacial deposits at the base of the Olympus Mons escarpment show evidence for repeated phases of activity as recently as about four million years ago. Morphological evidence is found that snow and ice deposition on the Olympus construct at elevations of more than 7,000 metres led to episodes of glacial activity at this height. Even now, water ice protected by an insulating layer of dust may be present at high altitudes on Olympus Mons.

PMID:
15616551
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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