, Volume 45, Issue 3, pp 265-290

The spatial distribution of volatiles in the Martian hydrolithosphere

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Abstract

In order to quantify the spatial distribution of volatiles on Mars, 2600 fluidized ejecta craters have been systematically measured, classified and mapped over the planet Mars, using 1 : 2 M scale USGS photomosaics. The latitudinal distribution of ejecta craters reveals that flower ejecta deposits (Type 1), together with low mobility ejecta, are frequently observed in the equatorial region and on ridged plains. Rampart craters (Type 2), with high mobility ejecta, occur at mid latitudes and exhibit a spatial relationship with polygonal patterns and pseudocrater areas. The increase of ejecta mobility with latitude attests for a concentration of volatiles at high latitudes. Statistical analysis shows that cratered uplands and ridged plains contain less volatile material near the surface than the underlying materials. In Chryse Planitia and Utopia Planitia the statistical study and the spatial relationships between polygonally fractured patterns, pseudocraters and the great number of high mobility ejecta deposits suggest the presence of a water-rich alluvial deposit close to the surface near the mouth of Chryse and Elysium channels. This result explains, on a more quantitative basis, the idea that fractured patterns were preferentially developed in a volatile-rich sedimentary deposits. The behaviour of volatiles, at 41 ‡ S, 257 ‡ W near Reull Vallis, exhibits a strong anomaly, with the presence of an abnormally volatile rich layer close to the surface.