Dendritic ridges in Antoniadi basin, Mars: Fluvial or volcanic landforms?

Mangold, N.; Guimpier, A.; Tornabene, L.L.; Conway, S.J.; Fawdon, P.; Hauber, E.; Noblet, A.; Zaki, A.S.; Pommerol, A. and Thomas, N. (2023). Dendritic ridges in Antoniadi basin, Mars: Fluvial or volcanic landforms? Icarus, 406 p. 115735.



Antoniadi basin displays dark-toned dendritic ridges previously interpreted as inverted fluvial channels. Detailed observations of these dark-toned ridges as well as the geological units in the central region of Antoniadi basin are provided emphasizing images from the Colour and Stereo Surface Imaging System (CaSSIS), the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) and the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) instruments. Results show that the dark-toned ridges are part of the most recent geological unit as they overlie, and thus postdate all plains of the central Antoniadi basin, which is Early Amazonian based on its crater size-frequency distribution. Our observations of the dark-toned ridges are not consistent with inverted fluvial channels: they do not widen in the expected downstream direction, they display a rubbly texture and lack layering at high resolution, and have lobes with local levees in place of channel heads. In addition, the branched ridges are more mafic in composition and display a relatively higher thermal inertia than their surroundings. This suite of characteristics is better explained by volcanic flows developed as distributary channels rather than fluvial tributary channels. The occurrence of dikes in the east and west of the studied region supports that these flows were formed by lava, perhaps a'a like flows as suggested by the rubbly texture, but with an unusually high degree of digitation. Alternatively, such a geometry could be explained by the emplacement of the lava along pre-existing fluvial valleys, but neither the underlying topography, nor two nearby older craters, exhibit signs of fluvial erosion.

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