Searching for evidence of hydrothermal activity at Apollinaris Mons, Mars

M. Ramy El Maarry, James M. Dohm, Giuseppe A. Marzo, Robin Fergason, Walter Goetz, Essam Heggy, Andreas Pack, Wojciech J. Markiewicz

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A multidisciplinary approach involving various remote sensing instruments is used to investigate Apollinaris Mons, a prominent volcano on Mars, as well as the surrounding plains for signs of prolonged hydrologic and volcanic, and possibly hydrothermal activity. The main findings include (1) evidence from laser altimetry indicating the large thickness (1.5-2. km at some locations) of the fan deposits draping the southern flank contrary to previous estimates, coupled with possible layering which point to a significant emplacement phase at Apollinaris Mons, (2) corroboration of Robinson et al. (Robinson, M.S., Mouginis-Mark, P.J., Zimbelman, J.R., Wu, S.S.C., Ablin, K.K., Howington-Kraus, A.E. [1993]. Icarus 104, 301-323) hypothesis regarding the formation of incised valleys on the western flanks by density current erosion which would indicate magma-water interaction or, alternatively, volatile-rich magmas early in the volcano's history, (3) mounds of diverse geometric shapes, many of which display summit depressions and occur among faults and fractures, possibly marking venting, (4) strong indicators on the flanks of the volcano for lahar events, and possibly, a caldera lake, (5) ubiquitous presence of impact craters displaying fluidized ejecta in both shield-forming (flank and caldera) materials and materials that surround the volcano that are indicative of water-rich target materials at the time of impact, (6) long-term complex association in time among shield-forming materials and Medusae Fossae Formation.The findings point to a site of extensive volcanic and hydrologic activity with possibly a period of magma-water interaction and hydrothermal activity. Finally, we propose that the mound structures around Apollinaris should be prime targets for further in situ exploration and search for possible exobiological signatures. © 2011 Elsevier Inc..
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)297 - 314
Number of pages18
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2012
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

Cite this

El Maarry, M. R., Dohm, J. M., Marzo, G. A., Fergason, R., Goetz, W., Heggy, E., ... Markiewicz, W. J. (2012). Searching for evidence of hydrothermal activity at Apollinaris Mons, Mars. Icarus, 217(1), 297 - 314.