Cerberus Fossae

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Cerberus Fossae
Cerberus fossae.jpg
A 3km section of the Cerberus Fossae fissure, taken by the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC)
Coordinates Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.
Length 1,630.0 km
Naming From albedo feature
at 10n, 212W. Changed
from Cerberus Rupes.

The Cerberus Fossae are a series of semi-parallel fissures on Mars formed by faults which pulled the crust apart in the Cerberus region. It is 1235 km across and centered at 11.28 °N and 166.37 °W. It's Northernmost Latitude is 16.16 °N and Southernmost Latitude 6.23 °N. Easternmost and Westernmost Longitudes are 174.72 °E and 154.43 °E respectively. [1] Ripples seen at the bottom of the fault are sand blown by the wind.[2] The underlying cause for the faulting was magma pressure related to the formation of the Elysium volcanic field, located to the northwest. The faults pass through pre-existing features such as hills, indicating that it is a younger feature.[3] The formation of the fossae is suspected to have released pressurized underground water, previously confined by the cryosphere, with flow rates up to 2 × 106 m3s−1, leading to the creation of the Athabasca Valles.[4][5][6] Marte Vallis is another channel that was formed from water released from Cerberus Fossae.[7]

A 2005 photo of a locale within Elysium Planitia at 5° N, 150° E by the Mars Express spacecraft shows what may be ash-covered water ice. The volume of ice is estimated to be 800 km (500 mi) by 900 km (560 mi) in size and 45 m (148 ft) deep, similar in size and depth to the North Sea.[8] The ice is thought to be the remains of water floods from the Cerberus Fossae fissures about 2 to 10 million years ago. The surface of the area is broken into 'plates' like broken ice floating on a lake. Impact crater counts show that the plates are up to 1 million years older than the gap material, showing that the area solidified much too slowly for the material to be basaltic lava.[9]

However, early radar analysis suggests there's no evidence of 'pack ice' tens of meters thick as hypothesized based on the images from Mars Express of the area. This is in support of the US view of images of the area, based on impact crater morphology which do not show any evidences of meteorite hitting anything but solid stone lava fields[10] Other researchers have found evidence of past ice in the area; they believe that lava flows may not have been involved.[11]

See also


  1. http://planetarynames.wr.usgs.gov/Feature/1109;jsessionid=A00BEFDA78AB1F2F7E97F064A5D7AC11
  2. "Cerberus Fossae Trough". Nasa.gov. Nasa. Retrieved 19 April 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Cerberus Fossae". Asu.edu. Arizona State University. Retrieved 19 April 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1/Identifiers at line 47: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).
  5. Cabrol, N. and E. Grin (eds.). 2010. Lakes on Mars. Elsevier. NY
  6. Burr, D. et al. 2002. Repeated aqueous flooding from the Cerberus Fossae: evidence for very recently extant deep groundwater on Mars. Icarus. 159: 53-73.
  7. Gareth, A. B. Campbell, L. Carter, J. Plaut, R. Phillips. 2013. 3D Reconstruction of the Source and Scale of Buried Young Flood Channels on Mars. Science, March 7, DOI:10.1126/Science.1234787
  8. Young, Kelly (2005-02-25). "'Pack ice' suggests frozen sea on Mars". New Scientist. Retrieved 2007-01-30.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1/Identifiers at line 47: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).
  10. 1866.PDF
  11. Cabrol, N. and E. Grin (eds.). 2010. Lakes on Mars. Elsevier. NY