Interactions between Athabasca Valles Flood Lavas and the Medusae Fossae Formation (Mars): Implications for Lava Emplacement Mechanisms and the Triggering of Steam Explosions




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Volcanic rootless constructs (VRCs), or rootless cones, have been identified in southwestern Elysium Planitia, atop the Athabasca Valles Flood Lava (AVFL), specifically within the Athabasca Valles outflow channel, Cerberus Palus, and the Aeolis Trough, an erosional valley north of Aeolis Planum. The Athabasca Valles Flood Lava is purported to be the youngest flood lava flow on Mars. Since rootless cones are formed from explosive interactions between lava and water/ice, the geologic history of the AVFL rootless cones is of great interest to the planetary community. This research expands on previous studies of AVFL rootless cones and extends the focus to include rootless cones in southern Cerberus Palus, as well as previously identified rootless cones in the Aeolis Trough. Observations of the two related, but morphologically differing cone fields within the AVFL, allows us to examine the emplacement history of the AVFL and the triggering mechanisms of steam eruptions. This study represents a defined piece of the puzzle involving the geologic history of Elysium Planitia and the role of volatiles on the surface of Mars.



Mars (Planet), Mars (Planet)--Lava flows, Mars (Planet)--Volcanoes, Steam--Thermal properties, Explosive volcanic eruptions


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