Possible open-system (hydraulic) pingos in and around the Argyre impact region of Mars

Soare, R. J.; Conway, Susan; Dohm, J. M. and El-Maarry, M. R. (2014). Possible open-system (hydraulic) pingos in and around the Argyre impact region of Mars. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 398 pp. 25–36.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.epsl.2014.04.044


We report the observation of possible (hydraulic) open-system pingos (OSPs ) at the mid latitudes (∼37°∼37°S) in and around the Argyre impact-basin. OSPs are perennial (water)–ice cored mounds; they originate and evolve in periglacial and pro-glacial landscapes on Earth where intra- or sub-permafrost water under hydraulic/artesian pressure uplifts localised sections of surface or near-surface permafrost that then freezes in-situ. We invoke three lines of evidence in support of our analogue-based interpretation: (1) similarities of shape, size and summit traits between terrestrial OSPs and the Martian mounds; (2) clustered distribution and the slope-side location of the mounds, consistent with terrestrial permafrost-environments where OSPs are found; and, (3) spatially-associated landforms putatively indicative of periglacial and glacial processes on Mars that characterise OSP landscapes on Earth.

This article presents five OSP candidate-locations and nests these mound locations within a new geological map of the Argyre impact-basin and margins. It also presents three periglacial hypotheses about the possible origin of the water required to develop the mounds. Alternative (non-periglacial) formation-hypotheses also are considered; however, we show that their robustness is not equal to that of the periglacial ones.

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