Cebrenia quadrangle

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Mars topography (MOLA dataset) HiRes (1).jpg
MC-07 Cebrenia quadrangle 30–65° N 120°–180° E Quadrangles Atlas

The Cebrenia quadrangle is one of a series of 30 quadrangle maps of Mars. The quadrangle covers from 120° to 180° east longitude (180° to 240° west longitude) and from 30° to 65° north latitude. It is also referred to as MC-7 (Mars Chart-7).[1] Parts of Utopia Planitia and Arcadia Planitia lie in the Cebrenia quadrangle. [2] This article aims to describe the location and major features of this quadrangle. When you finish reading it, you will know what it looks like from orbit and from the surface. Some HiRISE images may even show how it looks from the altitude of an airplane or a helicopter.

Origin of name

Cebrenia is a classical albedo feature on Mars. The feature is named after Cebrenia, a country near ancient Troy. The name was approved by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) in 1958.[3] [4]

Major Features

The major landscape features of the Cebrenia quadrangle are the large craters Mie and Stokes, a volcano called Hecates Tholus, and a group of mountains, named the Phlegra Montes. Most of the quadrangle is characterized as flat and smooth; hence, the rather large craters Mie and Stokes really stand out. The Galaxias Region is classified as an area of chaos; the ground just seems to have collapsed there. Some features found here are very common on Mars, but rare—if they exist at all—on the Earth. Pedestal craters, lineated valley fill (LVF), latitude dependent mantle (LDM), various-shaped layered features, and brain terrain are in this category. As on Earth, this region of Mars displays channels, layered terrain, cones, impact craters, gullies, and evidence of glaciers.[5] Viking 2 landed near MieCrater on September 3, 1976. Its landing coordinates were 48° N and 226° W (134 E).[6]

Hecates Tholus

Scientists believe that Hecates Tholus erupted explosively about 350 million years ago, which is a not that long ago for Mars. These eruptions made depressions on the sides of the volcano. And just five million years ago, glacial deposits formed inside these depressions. Some valleys on Hecates show a parallel drainage pattern.[7] Hecates Tholus is in the Elysium Volcanic Region; the two other volcanoes there are Elysium Mons and Albor Tholus.

Hecates Tholus, as seen by Mars Global Surveyor.
Tographic map of area around Hecates Tholus
Lava channels on Hecates Tholus

Craters

Impact craters generally have a rim with ejecta around them, in contrast volcanic craters usually do not have a rim or ejecta deposits.[8] Sometimes craters will display layers. Since the collision that produces a crater is like a powerful explosion, rocks from deep underground are tossed onto the surface. Consequently, craters can tell us what lies deep under the surface.

Group of secondary craters These are produced when a big impact throws boulders high in the air. They often land in groups and can be identified by their identical ages.

Gullies

Pedestal craters

A pedestal crater is an impact crater which has its ejecta sitting above the surrounding terrain. This forms a raised platform (like a pedestal). These craters are produced when an impact crater ejects material that forms an erosion-resistant layer at the top, thus causing the immediate area to erode more slowly than the rest of the region. Some pedestals have been accurately measured to be hundreds of meters above the surrounding area. This means that hundreds of meters of material were eroded away. The result is that both the crater and its ejecta blanket stand above the surroundings. Pedestal craters were first observed during the Mariner missions.[9] [10] [11] [12] Much of the material under the pedestal crater’ ejecta may be ice. These types of craters may be useful for finding sources of water ice since they can be easily spotted and mapped from orbit.

Channels

There is enormous evidence that water once flowed in river valleys on Mars.[13] [14] Images of curved channels have been seen in images from Mars spacecraft dating back to the early seventies with the Mariner 9 orbiter.[15] [16] [17] [18] In fact, a study published in June 2017, estimated that the volume of water needed to carve all the channels on Mars was even larger than the proposed ocean that the planet may have had. Water was probably recycled many times from the ocean to rainfall around Mars.[19] [20]

Volcano-ice interactions

Large amounts of water ice are believed to be present just under the surface of Mars. Some channels lie near volcanic areas. When hot subsurface magma comes close to this ice, large amounts of liquid water and mud may be formed. Hrad Vallis in the Cebrenia quadrangle is close to the large volcano, Elysium Mons. It may have supplied heat to melt ice and make the channel. Hrad Vallis is pictured below.[21]

Layered structures

Some locations on Mars display layered features in craters, depressions, and next to mesas. These are probably the remains of materials that once covered a wide region. They may mostly consist of latitude dependent mantle which falls from the sky as ice-rich particles.


Wide view of groups of layers, as seen by HiRISE under HiWish program These layers probably represent mantle deposited when climate changed. They were shaped by the wind.


Close view of a group of layers program Note: This is an enlargement from the previous image.

Latitude dependent mantle

Mantle may be composed of ice and dust that fell from the sky during past climatic conditions. Mantle could be a major source of water for future colonists because it is fairly common and could be mined for water by robotic machines.

Close up view of mantle, as seen by HiRISE under the HiWish program. Mantle may be composed of ice and dust that fell from the sky during past climatic conditions.


Latitude dependent mantle

Glaciers

Since the 60’s, as our spacecraft have studied Mars with more and more advanced cameras and other instruments, we have found more and more evidence for glaciers. [22] [23] [24] [25] [26] [27] [28] On Mars these glaciers are covered with rock and dust debris a few meters to a few tens of meters thick. Even though Mars today is too dry for any glaciers, this covering material has protected the underlying ice. [29] One would think that under today’s conditions any exposed ice would undergo sublimation and disappear into the thin Martian atmosphere. That is, it would go directly from a solid to a gas. However, the insulating effect of surface debris prevents the loss of ice.[26] [29] [30] [31][32][33]

Wide view of a cliff and remains of a glacier, as seen by HiRISE

Lobate Debris Aprons

Features, called lobate debris aprons (LDA’s), around mesas are actually now accepted to be glaciers. These LDA’s looked like glaciers; final proof came with radar studies. The Shallow Subsurface Radar (SHARD) on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter discovered that lobate debris aprons (LDA’s), around mesas were mostly ice under a thin rock debris cover. [34] [35] Ice was found both in the southern and northern hemispheres. [36] [37] [38]


Lobate debris apron in Phlegra Montes, as seen by HiRISE. The debris apron is probably mostly ice with a thin covering of rock debris, so it could be a source of water for future Martian colonists. Scale bar is 500 meters long.

Lineated Valley Fill

Close view of lineated valley fill on left and mantle on right, as seen by HiRISE under HiWish program

Close view of lineated valley fill on left and mantle on right, as seen by HiRISE under HiWish program


Another ice-rich feature is called lineated valley fill (LVF). [39] [40] [41] It covers many of the wide, flat valley floors of fretted terrain. Probably formed from the interaction of glaciers coming out of valleys and of mesas eroding, it has similar surface appearance of other supposed glaciers, including LDA. It looks like the human brain. Since the material covering ice is shaped into something resembling the human brain, it is named brain terrain. Brain terrain starts to form with cracks in the ice-rich surface. Sublimation along the cracks turns the cracks into small valleys. [42] [43] [44] [45] [46] [47] [48]

Brain terrain on crater floor, as seen by HiRISE under HiWish program Brain terrain forms when cracks form and get larger.


Close view of lineated valley fill on left and mantle on right, as seen by HiRISE under HiWish program

Chaos

Galaxias Chaos, as seen by CTX.


This series of drawings shows a model for the formation of Martian chaos, as proposed by Pedersen and Head 2011[49] Amount of sublimation is exaggerated to improve understanding. Click on image to see more details.


Some areas of Mars are classified as regions of “Chaos.” The ground seems to have collapsed. Often large blocks and hills are present in abundance. Many have large outflow channels associated with them. Galaxias Chaos in the Cebrenia quadrangle is different from most other chaotic regions. It does not have outflow channels, and it does not show a great elevation difference between it and the neighboring land area. Research by Pedersen and Head, published in 2010, suggests that Galaxias Chaos is the site of a volcanic flow that buried an ice-rich layer. That buried layer is a residue from water-rich materials deposited by large floods.[50] [51] Since the upper lava cap would not be supported evenly all over, it would crack. Along the cracks sublimation of water into the thin Martian atmosphere would be more intense. A blocky terrain that is typical of chaos would eventually develop. The sublimation process may have been facilitated by heat from magma movements. There are volcanoes, namely Elysium Montes and Hecates Tholus, close by which probably are surrounded by dikes, which would have heated the ground. Dikes occur when magma goes into cracks and weak areas rather than to the top of a volcano. They are widespread around most volcanoes. Ship rock, New Mexico contains typical dikes that have been exposed by erosion. Also, a warmer period in the past would have increased the amount of water sublimating from the ground.[52]

Ice exposed in new craters

Ice in crater Location: 43.286° N and 164.213°E Two pictures from HiRISE showing how ice disappeared over time in a crater. Crater on left is before ice disappeared. Crater is 6 meters in diameter.

Remarkable research, published in the journal Science in September 2009.[53] reported that some new craters on Mars show exposed, pure, water ice. Furthermore, scientists watched the ice disappear, presumably evaporating into the atmosphere by the process of sublimation. The ice is only a few feet deep. The Compact Imaging Spectrometer (CRISM)] on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO ) confirmed that the bright substance was indeed water ice. The ice was found in a total of 5 locations. Three of the locations are in the Cebrenia quadrangle. These locations are 55.57 N 150.62 E (209.38 W), 43.28 N 176.9 E (183.1 W), and 45 N 164.5 E (195.5 W).[54] [55] [56] [57] This discovery proves that future colonists on Mars will be able to obtain water from a wide variety of locations. This ice can be dug up, melted, and then taken apart to provide fresh oxygen and hydrogen for rocket fuel. Hydrogen is the powerful fuel used by the space shuttle main engines. Robotic machines may be invented to mine and bring ice to future colonies.

Cones

Viking’s Findings

Viking 2’s lander at about 200 km west of Mie Crater in Utopia Planitia at 47.64 degrees N and 134.29 degrees E (225.71 W).[58] The location can easily be seen on maps of Mars because Mie Crater sits by itself. For over four years it imaged the surface, analyzed soil samples, and performed experiments that looked for life. The last message from Viking Lander 2 came to Earth on April 11,1980.[59] The last communication with the Viking 2 Orbiter occurred on July 25, 1978.[60] By the end of the Orbiter’s mission, it had returned nearly 16,000 images in its 706 orbits around the Red Planet.[61]

View of surface around Viking 2

                                                          View of surface around Viking 2

Minerals detected in the soil were similar to those produced from the weathering of basaltic lavas on Earth. Dirt at this site contained abundant silicon and iron, in addition to significant amounts of magnesium, aluminum, sulfur, calcium, and titanium. Strontium and yttrium were found in trace amounts. Potassium was 5 times lower than the average in the Earth's crust. Sulfur and chlorine were similar to compounds that remain after sea water evaporates. Sulfur was more concentrated in the top crust of the soil than in the underlying bulk soil. Sulfur could be in the form of sulfates of sodium, magnesium, calcium, or iron. Iron sulfide is also possible. [62] Elements in the soil were found with an X-ray fluorescence spectrometer.[63] Mineral models suggest that the soil could be a mixture of about 90% iron-rich clay, about 10% magnesium sulfate (kieserite?), about 5% carbonate (calcite), and about 5% iron oxides (hematite, magnetite, goethite?). These minerals are typical weathering products of mafic igneous rocks. The dark, igneous rock basalt is believed to make up much of the surface of Mars, as it does for the Earth.[64] [65] [66] Studies with magnets aboard the Viking landers indicated that the soil is between 3 and 7 percent magnetic materials by weight. The magnetic chemicals could be magnetite and maghemite. These could come from the weathering of basalt rock.[67] [68]

Map showing locations of Viking landers and Pathfinder Note Viking 2 in far North.

    Map showing locations of Viking landers and Pathfinder  Note Viking 2 in far North.

Viking 2 gathered weather data for over 4 years while active on the surface. Temperatures at this location varied from a low of -189.4 degrees F (-123 C, 150 K) to a high of -9.4 degrees F (-23 C, 250 K). As these temperatures were recorded in the far north, cold temperatures would be expected. Furthermore, pressure changes, seasonal dust storms, and transport of atmospheric gases between the polar caps were observed.[69] Three experiments on Viking looked for life. Granted that some activity was observed, most scientists now believe that the data came from inorganic chemical reactions of the soil. Nevertheless, a few scientists still to this day believe the results were due to living organisms.[70] [71] [72] Because no organic chemicals were found in the soil, most scientists concluded there was no life detected at this location. However, dry areas of Antarctica do not have detectable organic compounds either, but they have organisms living in the rocks.[73]

Early on, some scientists suggested that the lack of a protective ozone layer would cause UV light to sterilize the soil surface. Mars has almost no ozone layer, so UV light sanitizes the surface and may produce peroxides that would change any organic chemicals.[74] These theories did seem to be validated, decades later when the Phoenix Lander detected the chemical perchlorate in the Martian Soil. Perchlorate, a strong oxidant, may have wiped out all traces of organic matter in the Martian soil.[75] Carbon-based life would be difficult at the soil surface, if perchlorates were pervasive on Mars. In addition, a study published in the Journal of Geophysical Research in 2010, suggested that organic compounds were actually present in the soil analyzed by both Viking 1 and 2. The study's authors discovered that perchlorate will destroy organics when heated and will produce chloromethane and dichloromethane--the same chlorine compounds discovered by both Viking landers when they performed the tests on Mars. [76] [77] [78] [79]Since perchlorate would have broken down any Martian organics, there could be life at the Viking sites.[80] [81]

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See Also

Recommended reading

  • Grotzinger, J., R. Milliken (eds.). 2012. Sedimentary Geology of Mars. Tulsa: Society for Sedimentary Geology.
  • Kieffer, H., et al. (eds) 1992. Mars. The University of Arizona Press. Tucson
  • September 30, 1977 issue of the Journal of Geophysical Research, "Scientific Results of the Viking Project", vol. 82, no. 28.
  • history.nasa.gov/SP-4212/ch11

External links