University of Michigan - Department of Astronomy

updated: 04/19/2000

Martian Surface Features - A Global Study

Appendix B - Guidelines for Understanding Geologic Processes


  1. Plate Tectonics and Volcanism

    Tectonic features: Rift valleys and continental plates, chain volcanoes, uplifted/fractured regions of the curst, landslides from "earth"quakes, fault zones, sinkholes, subsidence faults.

    Volcanic Features: Shield ("hot spot") volcanoes with calderas, lava flows, lava tubes, outgassing vents, flooded craters, ash clouds

  2. Fluvial Erosion (Erosion due to water)

    Fluvial features:streamlined beds, sinuous "braided" channels, Oceans, lakes, or dried-up river deltas and sand bars, (tear-drop shape islands, undercut cliffs).

  3. Aeolian Erosion (Erosion due to wind)

    Aeolian Features: Dunes, downwind dust tails, dust storms, undercut cliffs

  4. Glacial Erosion (Erosion due to ice)

    Glacial Features: Layered terrain, straight V-shaped valleys, plains scoured flat with material deposited at edge.

  5. Gardening

    Gradual bombardment by meteors and asteroids produces impact craters, can overturn, transport and mix soil, and trigger dramatic climate or tectonic changes.

    Gardening Features: impact craters, eject blankets, rays.

  6. Chain Craters