Martian Bedrock Plains

This page curates data regarding Martian intercrater bedrock plains, mapped in my 2019 JGR Paper (full-text for desktop devices). These plains are mapped using thermophysical data, which indicates higher than average exposure of bare rock, rather than regolith and dust that cover most of the Martian surface. These regions provide windows into Martian geology, as regolith and dust are typically homogenized by wind transport, blocking measurements of surface composition that can provide insight into the environmental history of Mars.

The bedrock plains documented here are likely weighted towards clastic deposits (Rogers et al, 2018), as these rocks more readily break down into particles that can be removed by wind erosion. More competent rocks, such as lavas, typically break down into blocky chunks, which disrupt airflow and effectively trap small particles. This ability to trap material creates a more substantial regolith cover, preventing lava flows from being detected via thermophysical methods unless extremely young (likely less than 1 billion years old). Additionally, this detection method is limited primarily to the low-albedo (dark) regions of the Martian surface. Brighter regions of the Martian surface are due to the long-term accumulation of Martian dust, which only needs to be a few millimeters thick to block detection of near-surface rock by thermophysical methods.

Bedrock plains are organized by region. The following list links to directory pages providing a general overview of the geology of each region and a list of bedrock plains within that region. These directory pages also link to pages for each bedrock plain, which host processed data (such as spectra), available data products (HiRISE / CRISM / HRSC topo, etc), and relevant literature where these regions may be studied in finer detail. The goal of these pages is to facilitate further research into these extremely interesting (IMO) areas.

Page Created: June 4, 2020