Evidence for Recent Wet-Based Crater Glaciation in Tempe Terra, Mars.

Butcher, F. E.G; Balme, M. R.; Gallagher, C.; Arnold, N. S; Conway, S. J.; Storrar, R. D.; Hagermann, A. and Lewis, S. R. (2018). Evidence for Recent Wet-Based Crater Glaciation in Tempe Terra, Mars. In: 49th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, 19-23 Mar 2018, The Woodlands, Houston, Texas, USA.

URL: https://www.hou.usra.edu/meetings/lpsc2018/pdf/149...



Mars’ mid-latitudes host abundant putative debris-covered water-ice glaciers (viscous flow features; VFF). Eskers emerging from 110-150 Myr-old VFF in Phlegra Montes and Tempe Terra provide evidence for rare occurences of past, localized basal melting of their parent VFF, despite the cold climates of the late Amazonian (see this conf.). Eskers are sinuous ridges comprising glaciofluvial sediment deposited by meltwater flowing through tunnels within glacial ice.

Here, we describe a population of sinuous ridges emerging from VFF in an unnamed ~45 km-diameter crater (38.47 N, 72.43 W) in Tempe Terra, ~600 km from the VFF-linked esker identified by Butcher et al. We consider two working hypotheses for the formation of the sinuous ridges; that they are either (1) eskers formed by melting of the glaciers from which they emerge, or (2) topographically inverted fluvial channels which formed prior to glaciation of the crater. We present observations from preliminary geomorphic mapping of the crater to start to test those hypotheses.

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