Mars Geological Enigmas

Mars Geological Enigmas

From the Late Noachian Epoch to the Present Day

1st Edition - May 23, 2021

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  • Editors: Richard Soare, Susan Conway, Jean-Pierre Williams, Dorothy Oehler
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780128202456
  • eBook ISBN: 9780128202463

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Mars Geological Enigmas: From the Late Noachian Epoch to the Present Day presents outstanding questions on the geology of Mars and divergent viewpoints based on varying interpretations and analyses. The result is a robust and comprehensive discussion that provides opportunities for planetary scientists to develop their own opinions and ways forward. Each theme opens with an introduction that includes background on the topic and lays out questions to be addressed. Alternate perspectives are covered for each topic, including methods, observations, analyses, and in-depth discussion of the conclusions. Chapters within each theme reference each other to facilitate comparison and deeper understanding of divergent opinions.

Key Features

  • Offers a transchronological view of the geological history of Mars, addressing thematic questions from a broad temporal perspective
  • Discusses outstanding questions on Mars from diverging perspectives
  • Includes key questions and answers, as well as a look ahead to which puzzles remain to be solved


Advanced undergraduate, graduates, post docs, researchers, and faculty members in planetary science

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
    Richard J. Soare, Susan J. Conway, Jean-Pierre Williams, Dorothy Oehler

    Prologue - Why Mars?
    James B. Garvin

    Chapter 1. Current enigmas identified by the Curiosity rover at the Gale crater
    Abigail A. Fraeman

    Node I
    What sourced the enormous flows and volumes that formed the outflow channels and highland-margin contacts of ancient Mars?

    Chapter 2. The fluvial interpretation of outflow channels on Mars: landforms, processes and paleoenvironmental implications
    Colman J. Gallagher, Rickbir Bahia

    Chapter 3. Was there an early Mars ocean?
    Timothy J. Parker, Bruce G. Bills

    Chapter 4. Dry megafloods on Mars: formation of the outflow channels by voluminous effusions of low viscosity lava
    David Leverington

    Node II
    Can impact craters be used to derive reliable surface ages on Mars?

    Chapter 5. Challenges in crater chronology arising from the Jezero impact crater
    Lior Rubinenko, Tyler M. Powell, Jean-Pierre Williams

    Chapter 6. The role of secondary craters on Martian crater chronology
    Jean-Pierre Williams, Tyler M. Powell

    Node III
    The perplexing story of methane on Mars

    Chapter 7. Methane on Mars: subsurface sourcing and conflicting atmospheric measurements
    Dorothy Oehler, Giuseppe Etiope

    Chapter 8. A review of the meteor shower hypothesis for methane on Mars
    Marc Fries

    Node IV
    Does water flow on Martian slopes?

    Chapter 9. The possible role of water in recent surface-processes on Mars
    Susan J. Conway, David Stillman

    Chapter 10. Dry formation of recent Martian slope-features
    Colin Dundas

    Node V
    Earth analogues for Mars - a plethora of choice!

    Chapter 11. The McMurdo Dry Valleys of Antarctica: a geological, environmental and ecological analog to the Martian surfac
    Mark Salvatore, Joe Levy

    Chapter 12. The Atacama Desert: a window into late Mars surface habitability
    Alfonso Davila, Jocelyne DiRuggerio, Kimberly Warren-Rhodes

    Chapter 13. Ancient life in diverse habitats from the Pilbara Craton and Mount Bruce Supergroup, western Australia: analogues for early Mars?
    Martin J. Van Kranendonk, Raphael Baumgartner, Tomaso Bonognali, Kenichiro Sugitani, Malcolm Walter

    Node VI
    The freeze-thaw cycling of water at/near the Martian surface: present, past and possible?

    Chapter 14. Pingo-like mounds and possible periglaciation/glaciation at/adjacent to the Moreux impact crater, Mars
    Richard J. Soare, Jean-Pierre Williams, Susan J. Conway, M.Ramy El-Maarry

    Chapter 15. Thermokarst-like depressions on Mars: age constraints on ice degradation in Utopia Planitia
    Donna Viola

    Node VII
    Hemispheres together: towards understanding the Mars dichotomy

    Chapter 16. Forging the Mars crustal-dichotomy: the giant impact hypothesis
    Robert I. Citron

    Chapter 17. Endogenic origin of the Martian hemispheric dichotomy?
    James Roberts

Product details

  • No. of pages: 554
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Elsevier 2021
  • Published: May 23, 2021
  • Imprint: Elsevier
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780128202456
  • eBook ISBN: 9780128202463

About the Editors

Richard Soare

Richard Soare is a physical geographer specializing in periglacial (cold-climate, non-glacial landscapes). Through the last twenty years he has spent considerable time off-planet, intellectually, i.e. identifying landscapes on Mars present or past possibly molded by the freeze-thaw cycling of water. His work spans the red planet geographically, ranging from the plains of Utopia Planitia in the northern hemisphere and the Moreux impact-crater at the Mars dichotomy through to the Argyre impact-crater in the southern hemisphere. Recently, he co-edited Dynamic Mars: Recent and Current Landscape Evolution on the red planet and a special issue of Icarus: Current and Recent Landscape Evolution on Mars.

Affiliations and Expertise

Professor, Department of Geography, Dawson College, Canada

Susan Conway

Susan Conway is a CNRS research scientist in Nantes, France, having graduated with a PhD in planetary science from the Open University (United Kingdom) in 2010. She is chair of the International Association for Geomorphologists (IAG) Planetary Geomorphology Working Group, and has run the Planetary Geomorphology session at the European Geoscience Union since 2011. She is lead editor for a collection of papers on Martian gullies and their Earth analogues, based on the workshop she organized at the Geological Society of London in June 2016 and is co-editor on a collection of papers entitled "Frontiers in Geomorphometry". She is a team member on the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) instrument on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and Guest Investigator on the ESA Trace Gas Orbiter mission to Mars, specifically focused on the CaSSIS camera and NOMAD/ACS spectrometer instruments. She is on the author list of 35 peer-reviewed papers concerning the geomorphology of Earth, Mars, Mercury, the Moon and the asteroid Vesta. Her work is concentrated around glacial, periglacial and fluvial landforms on Mars, encompassing field, remote sensing and laboratory simulation data, with a specialty in analysis of 3D terrain data.

Affiliations and Expertise

CNRS Researcher, CNRS UMR 6112 Laboratoire de Planetologie et Geodynamique, Universite de Nantes, France

Jean-Pierre Williams

Jean-Pierre Williams is a researcher at the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA). He received his PhD in Geophysics and Space Physics from UCLA and was a research scientist at the California Institute of Technology before returning to UCLA. His work focuses on the geology and physics of the inner planets. He is the author/co-author of over 50 peer-reviewed publications and is currently the Deputy-PI of the Diviner Lunar Radiometer Experiment on the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.

Affiliations and Expertise

Researcher, University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA), USA

Dorothy Oehler

Dorothy Oehler is a planetary geologist and Precambrian paleontologist seeking ways to identify biosignatures of potential, past life on Mars and predict optimal locations in which to search for biosignatures. She obtained her Ph.D. from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), then spent several years in petroleum research focusing on methane in the subsurface of the Earth. She now applies that background to investigations of methane on Mars. Dr. Oehler spent the years from 2003 to 2016 at Johnson Space Center and was a member of the 1st Mars Science Laboratory (Curiosity Rover) Science Team. Currently, she continues her work on methane on Mars, earliest life on Earth, and potential biosignatures on Mars. In 2012, Dr. Oehler was named Distinguished Alumna from the Department of Earth, Planetary, and Space Sciences at UCLA.

Affiliations and Expertise

Senior Scientist, Planetary Science Institute, Tucson, Arizona, USA

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