uu.seUppsala University Publications
Change search
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
The geometry of volcano flank terraces on Mars
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences, Solid Earth Geology.
2009 (English)In: Earth and Planetary Science Letters, ISSN 0012-821X, E-ISSN 1385-013X, Vol. 281, no 1-2, 1-13 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Flank terraces are subtle, expansive structures on the slopes of many large Martian shield volcanoes. Several terrace formation hypotheses - including self-loading, lithospheric flexure, magma chamber tumescence, volcano spreading, and shallow gravitational slumping - have been suggested. Terraces are not readily visible on photogeological data; consequently, terrace geometry has not yet been comprehensively described. Terrace provenance, therefore, is poorly understood. We used three-dimensional Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) data to characterise the geometry of these elusive structures, with a view to   understanding better the role that flank terraces play in the tectonic evolution of volcanoes on Mars. Terraces have a broad, convex-upward profile in section, and a systematic "fish scale" imbricate stacking pattern in plan. They are visible at all elevations, on at least nine   disparate Martian volcanoes. Terrace-like features also occur on three shield volcanoes on Earth, an observation not recorded before. Analysis of a suite of morphometric parameters for flank terraces showed that they are scale-invariant. with similar proportions to thrust faults on Earth. We compared predicted formation geometries to our terrace observations, and found that only lithospheric flexure can fully account for the morphology, distribution, and timing of terraces. As a volcano flexes into the lithosphere beneath it, its upper surface will  experience a net reduction in area, resulting in the formation of outward verging thrusts. We conclude, therefore, that flank terraces are fundamental volcanotectonic structures, that they are the surface expressions of thrust faults, probably formed by lithospheric flexure. and that they are not restricted to Mars.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. Vol. 281, no 1-2, 1-13 p.
Keyword [en]
volcano, flank, terrace, volcanotectonic, Mars, Earth
National Category
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
Research subject
Earth Science with specialization in Mineral Chemistry, Petrology and Tectonics
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-119278DOI: 10.1016/j.epsl.2009.01.043ISI: 000265723100001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-119278DiVA: diva2:299972
Available from: 2010-02-24 Created: 2010-02-24 Last updated: 2016-05-12Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

No full text

Other links

Publisher's full text

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Troll, Valentin R.
By organisation
Solid Earth Geology
In the same journal
Earth and Planetary Science Letters
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
The number of downloads is the sum of all downloads of full texts. It may include eg previous versions that are now no longer available

Altmetric score

Total: 175 hits
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link