Landform hierarchy and evolution in Gorgonum and Atlantis basins, Mars

Radu Dan Capitan, Marco Van De Wiel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
37 Downloads (Pure)


This paper describes the evolution of landforms in Atlantis and Gorgonum basins, using a geomorphologic approach which interprets landform distribution and hierarchy. Rather than looking at the distribution of large-area (>106km2) geologic sequences, this study focuses on interpreting the local-scale (<103km2) cratered terrains, tectono-structural basins, and local manifestation of exogenic processes. Specifically, the evolution of fluvio-lacustrine landforms is interpreted as being functionally subordinated to the evolution of the cratered terrains and to the tectono-structural modifications of the landscape. Results show that three major phases of landscape evolution in Atlantis and Gorgonum basins can be identified: (a) major impact cratering during the heavy-bombardment period; (b) tectonic displacements in response to volcano emplacement in the Tharsis region, and simultaneous landform creation by fluvial and lacustrine processes; and (c) exogenic modification of the older landforms through weathering and eolian processes. Our results show that the smaller morphological features, which form on the older geological units, are not necessarily old themselves and can in fact be relatively recent (e.g. Amazonian). The main implication of these results is that martian morphology did not form only during a period immediately following the heavy bombardment, as commonly postulated, but rather that landform evolution continued throughout the entire martian history.

Publisher Statement: NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Icarus. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Icarus, [211, 1, (2017)] DOI: 10.1016/j.icarus.2010.08.006

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)366-388
Number of pages23
Issue number1
Early online date17 Aug 2010
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Geological processes
  • Mars, Surface
  • Tectonics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics


Dive into the research topics of 'Landform hierarchy and evolution in Gorgonum and Atlantis basins, Mars'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this