From Bureau of Economic Geology, The University of Texas at Austin (
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Bureau Seminar, October 14, 2011

Deep-water erosional remnants in eastern offshore Trinidad as terrestrial analogs for teardrop-shaped islands on Mars: Implications for outflow channel formation

Link to streaming video: available 10.14.2011 at 8:55am

Dr. Lorena Moscardelli
Bureau of Economic Geology, UT Austin

Dr. Lorena Moscardelli

Discovery of geomorphological elements such as valleys and channel-like features on the surface of Mars has prompted debate over alternative origins for these morphologies, including erosion by lava, liquid CO(2), glaciation, and mass wasting events. Similarities between Martian geomorphological elements and those of certain terrestrial environments suggest that water processes were involved in the formation of some visible Martian landscapes. Recent advances in three-dimensional seismic reflectivity imaging techniques, drawn mainly from oil and gas exploration activities in deep-water regions of the world, have allowed us to describe a variety of internal stratigraphic architectures that resemble some geomorphological features observed in the circum-Chryse Planitia region of Mars. For example, erosional shadow remnants that have been described as components of deep-water mass transport deposits in the eastern offshore margin of Trinidad closely resemble teardrop-shaped islands that have been described at the downstream end of outflow channels within the circum-Chryse Planitia region. These observations suggest that the teardrop-shaped islands might have been formed as a result of catastrophic submarine mass movements similar to those documented within continental margins on Earth.