We recently obtained photoclinometric profiles across all simple grabens and erosional landforms (e.g., troughs, pits, wall-valley heads, and scarps that are bounded above and below by flat surfaces) that occur within Tempe Terra. These data, together with similar data that we obtained for Syria, Sinai, and Lunae Plana and the Alba Patera region, allow regional examination of shallow crust Al discontinuities between latitude 30 deg. S and 50 deg. N and longitude 50 deg. W and 112 deg. W. The profile for each simple graben was used with an appropriate structural model to estimate the depth to the base of the faulted layer. The depths of erosional wall scarps may also indicate the depths of mechanical discontinuities such as a local lithologic or cryospheric boundary. Examination of these data indicates a surprisingly consistent set of shallow crust Al discontinuities for the Tharsis region at depths of 0.4-0.6 km, 1.0-1.4 km, and 2 km; the maximum depth of the features in most study areas appears to be about 4 km. The concentration of values between 0.4 and 0.6 km in most scarp and some faulted-layer depth data is similar to the range in estimated thicknesses of individual exposed Noachian and Hesperian plains units in the Tharsis region. The regional depth data also show two modes near 1 and 2 km in some study areas and a maximum depth near 4 km in most study areas; the faulted-layer depths in excess of 4 km at Alba Patera occur near the summit of the caldera and could be attributed to volcanic loading. Our detailed examination of these depth data includes the following observations: (1) The mode at 1.0-1.4 km depth transcends age and geologic setting in this broad study area; (2) The 2-km mode is most obvious at Alba Patera and moderately well developed at Syria and Sinai Plana, but it is muted at Tempe Terra, which is in the same latitude range as Alba Patera but older; and (3) The 2-km-depth mode is not present in all areas that have features of Amazonian age. We suggest two possible explanations for our observations in the Tharsis region.
LUNAR AND PLANETARY EXPLORATION
Lunar and Planetary Inst., Twenty-fourth Lunar and Planetary Science Conference. Part 1: A-F; p 381-382