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- The Martian dichotomy is a global feature separating the northern and southern hemispheres. The 3.5 - 4 Gyr old feature is manifested by a topographic difference of 2-6 km and crustal thickness difference of approx. 15 - 30 km between the two hemispheres. In the Ismenius region, sections of the boundary are characterized by a single scarp with a slope of approx. 20 deg. - 23 deg. and are believed to be among the most well preserved parts of the dichotomy boundary. The origin of the dichotomy is unknown. Endogenic hypotheses do not predict the steep slopes (scarps) of the dichotomy boundary. Exogenic models for forming the northern lowlands by impact cratering, associate the scarps along the dichotomy boundary with craters' rims, but are not globally consistent with the topography and gravity. In order to better understand the origin of the Martian dichotomy, it is necessary to know if the steep scarps along the boundary represent the original shape of the dichotomy. Smrekar et al. presented evidence showing that the boundary scarp in Ismenius is a fault along which the highland crust was down faulted. We test whether the relaxation process could produce faulting along the dichotomy boundary and examine the crustal and mantle conditions that would allow for faulting to occur within 1 Gyr and preserve the long wavelength topography over another 3 Gyr. We approach the problem by a combination of numerical and semi-analytical modeling. We test different viscosity profiles and crustal thicknesses by comparing our modeled magnitude, location and timing of plastic strain and displacements to detailed geologic observations in the Ismenius region.
- Document ID: 20040200930.
Workshop on Hemispheres Apart: The Origin and Modification of The Martian Crustal Dichotomy; 21-22; LPI-Contrib-1213.
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