A geomorphic analysis of Hale crater, Mars: The effects of impact into ice-rich crust

A. P. Jones, A. S. McEwen, L. L. Tornabene, V. R. Baker, H. J. Melosh, D. C. Berman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Hale crater, a 125×150km impact crater located near the intersection of Uzboi Vallis and the northern rim of Argyre basin at 35.7°S, 323.6°E, is surrounded by channels that radiate from, incise, and transport material within Hale's ejecta. The spatial and temporal relationship between the channels and Hale's ejecta strongly suggests the impact event created or modified the channels and emplaced fluidized debris flow lobes over an extensive area (>200,000km2). We estimate ∼1010m3 of liquid water was required to form some of Hale's smaller channels, a volume we propose was supplied by subsurface ice melted and mobilized by the Hale-forming impact. If 10% of the subsurface volume was ice, based on a conservative porosity estimate for the upper martian crust, 1012m3 of liquid water could have been present in the ejecta. We determine a crater-retention age of 1Ga inside the primary cavity, providing a minimum age for Hale and a time at which we propose the subsurface was volatile-rich. Hale crater demonstrates the important role impacts may play in supplying liquid water to the martian surface: they are capable of producing fluvially-modified terrains that may be analogous to some landforms of Noachian Mars.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)259-272
Number of pages14
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2011


  • Impact processes
  • Mars
  • Mars, Surface

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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