Post by Dr. Rogelio Linares1 and Dr. Alexis Rodríguez2,3
1Department of Geology- GATA, Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain . 2 Planetary Science Institute, Tucson, AZ 85719, USA. 3State key Laboratory of Information Engineering on Surveying, Mapping and Remote Sensing, Wuhan University, China.
Tufa or travertine deposition at spring discharges often produce mounded landforms. They are one of the least understood calcareous landforms on Earth. Most documented mounds correspond to thermogene travertine. build-up associated with geothermal springs (where the carbon dioxide comes from thermally generated sources). See May 2009 image of the month. In contrast, work on meteogene mounds (where the carrier carbon dioxide originates in the soil and epigean atmosphere) are quite scarce (Linares et al, 2010).
A geologic investigation of the Tremp-Isona sedimentary basin in the Spanish Pyrenees reveals a field of tufa mounds (Image 1). These tufa mounds highly resemble landforms found in Martian boundary plains in the region of southern circum-Chryse (Image 2). In both regions tectonic structures produced during contractional deformation appear to have significantly influenced the formation and perching of regional aquifers (Images 3 and 4).
An analogous mode of formation for the Martian features would suggest that during the Late Hesperian spring discharges may have led to the formation of small lakes at the surface, which would be consistent with the existence of aquifers at shallow depths within the Martian cryosphere.
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Linares, R., Rosell, J., Roque, C., Gutiérrez, F., 2010. Origin and evolution of tufa mounds related to artesian karstic springs in Isona area (Pyrenees, NE Spain. Geodinamica Acta, 23/1-3: 129-150. doi:10.3166/ga.23.129-150.URL:
Rodriguez, J.A.P., Tanaka, K.L., Kargel, J.S., Dohm, M.J., Ruslan, K., Fairén, A.G., Sasaki,S., Komatsu, G., Schulze-Makuch, D., Jianguo, Y., 2007. Formation and disruption of aquifers in southwestern Chryse Planitia, Mars. Icarus 191, 545–567. doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2007.05.021
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