Per­spec­tive view of the tran­si­tion zone be­tween Mar­gar­i­tifer Ter­ra and Au­ro­rae Chaos

Perspective view of the transition zone between Margaritifer Terra and Aurorae Chaos
Per­spec­tive view of the tran­si­tion zone be­tween Mar­gar­i­tifer Ter­ra and Au­ro­rae Chaos
Credit: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

Perspective view of the transition zone between Margaritifer Terra and Aurorae Chaos

At the tran­si­tion be­tween the Mar­gar­i­tifer Ter­ra high­land re­gion and the Au­ro­rae Chaos de­pres­sion, the plain of the south­ern high­lands is heav­i­ly fur­rowed and char­ac­terised by grabens, val­leys, hol­lows and shat­tered land­scape. The crust was torn apart by ten­sile tec­ton­ic forces, while un­der­ground ice was prob­a­bly stored in cav­i­ties di­rect­ly be­neath the sur­face. This thawed due to a heat source – ris­ing mag­ma from a vol­cano or the heat gen­er­at­ed by a near­by as­ter­oid im­pact – and rose to the sur­face be­fore flow­ing north. The re­sult­ing cav­i­ties col­lapsed, leav­ing a land­scape that is de­scribed as ‘chaot­ic ter­rain’ by plan­e­tary ge­ol­o­gists.

At the transition between the Margaritifer Terra highland region and the Aurorae Chaos depression, the plain of the southern highlands is heavily furrowed and characterised by grabens, valleys, hollows and shattered landscape. The crust was torn apart by tensile tectonic forces, while underground ice was probably stored in cavities directly beneath the surface. This thawed due to a heat source – rising magma from a volcano or the heat generated by a nearby asteroid impact – and rose to the surface before flowing north. The resulting cavities collapsed, leaving a landscape that is described as ‘chaotic terrain’ by planetary geologists.

More galleries

Cookies help us to provide our services. By using our website you agree that we can use cookies. Read more about our Privacy Policy and visit the following link: Privacy Policy

Main menu