Sublacustrine depositional fans in southwest Melas Chasma

Joannah M. Metz, John P. Grotzinger, David Mohrig, Ralph Milliken, Bradford Prather, Carlos Pirmez, Alfred S. McEwen, Catherine M. Weitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


Two depositional fan complexes have been identified on the floor of southwest Melas Chasma. The western fan complex is located near the center of an enclosed basin in southwest Melas Chasma and is composed of multiple lobes with dendritic finger-like terminations. These fans are very flat and have a morphology unlike any other fan that has been previously identified on Mars. On the basis of the morphologic similarity of the western fan complex to the Mississippi submarine fan complex, we suggest that it may be a deep subaqueous fan depositional system. There are numerous channels on the surface of the western fan complex, and measurements of channel length, width, and sinuosity are consistent with channels observed on terrestrial submarine fans. The eastern Melas depositional fans are less well preserved and may be of deltaic or sublacustrine origin. Recognition of the fans supports earlier suggestions for the presence of a former lake in Melas Chasma and indicates that a significant body of water was present and stable at the surface of Mars for at least 10 2 to 104 years.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberE10002
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Planets
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Sublacustrine depositional fans in southwest Melas Chasma'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this