University of Michigan - Department of Astronomy


updated: 04/19/2000

Martian Surface Features-Exercise


Answer the following questions in complete sentences using the map provided of the Martian surface:

  1. What probably caused the huge plains regions primarily found in the northern hemisphere? (There are several possibilities).

  2. Which is older, the plains or the cratered terrain found mostly in the southern hemisphere? How can you tell?

  3. What evidence do you find for large impacts on Mars? (Give names.)

  4. Do you see any evidence on this map for large scale erosion by wind, water, or both? (Hint: Look at 25'S, 245' along with other regions.)

  5. What can be said about the general elevation of the plains areas surrounding the volcanoes?

  6. What might cause this?

  7. Plate techtonics causes the crust to move over the mantle on the earth. Volcanoes form over stationary 'hot spots' in the mantle, but plate techtonics on earth removes the volcanoes from the hot spots thus limiting the time of growth of the volcano. A new volcano can then form on the crust now over the hot spot. What does your answer to question 6 say about the possibility of plate techtonics on Mars? (Note, the height of Olympus Mons is 27km while Mauna Kea is 10km high).

  8. Locate the Valles Marineris. Describe this feature and compare it to terrestrial features. What process (more than one) do you think helped to create it?

  9. The Mars Polar Lander will be launched on January 3, 1999 and will land on Mars on December 3 1999. It will land between 75 and 80 degrees south latitude. Why do you think scientists want it to land in the polar regions of Mars?

  10. Summarize the possible land modifying processes that have occurred on Mars and their relative importance to Martian geology.

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