Layering stratigraphy of eastern Coprates and northern Capri Chasmata, Mars

Ross A. Beyer, Alfred S. McEwen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Distinct competent layers are observed in the slopes of eastern Coprates Chasma, part of the Valles Marineris system on Mars. Our observations indicate that the stratigraphy of Coprates Chasma consists of alternating thin strong layers and thicker sequences of relatively weak layers. The strong, competent layers maintain steeper slopes and play a major role in controlling the overall shape and geomorphology of the chasmata slopes. The topmost competent layer in this area is well preserved and easy to identify in outcrops on the northern rim of Coprates Chasma less than 100 m below the southern Ophir Planum surface. The volume of the topmost emplaced layer is at least 70 km3 and may be greater than 2100 km3 if the unit underlies most of Ophir Planum. The broad extent of this layer allows us to measure elevation offsets within the north rim of the chasma and in a freestanding massif within Coprates Chasma where the layer is also observed. Rim outcrop morphology and elevation differences between Ophir and Aurorae Plana may be indicative of the easternmost extent of the topmost competent layer. These observations allow an insight into the depositional processes that formed the stratigraphic stack into which this portion of the Valles Marineris is carved, and they present a picture of some of the last volcanic activity in this area. Furthermore, the elevation offsets within the layer are evidence of significant subsidence of the massif and surrounding material.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-23
Number of pages23
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2005


  • Geological processes
  • Geophysics
  • Image processing
  • Mars
  • Planets
  • Surfaces
  • Tectonics
  • Terrestrial planets
  • Volcanism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Layering stratigraphy of eastern Coprates and northern Capri Chasmata, Mars'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this