Measurements acquired by the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter on board the Mars Global Surveyor indicate that large drainage systems on Mars have geomorphic characteristics inconsistent with prolonged erosion by surface runoff. We find the topography has not evolved to an expected equilibrium terrain form, even in areas where runoff incision has been previously interpreted. By analogy with terrestrial examples, groundwater sapping may have played an important role in the incision. Longitudinally flat floor segments may provide a direct indication of lithologic layers in the bedrock, altering subsurface hydrology. However, it is unlikely that floor levels are entirely due to inherited structures due to their planar cross-cutting relations. These conclusions are based on previously unavailable observations, including extensive piece-wise linear longitudinal profiles, frequent knickpoints, hanging valleys, and small basin concavity exponents.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||4|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|State||Published - Feb 19 2002|
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