Teach the Earth > Discoveries from Mars > Catalyst Ideas > Volcanoes, Structural Geology, and Tectonics of Mars

Ideas for Integrating Mars Data into Undergraduate Courses: Volcanoes, structural geology, and tectonics

Determining nature and origin of volcanic constructs on Mars

  • Highland paterae (flank slopes <2 degrees) on Mars are interpreted as basaltic ash-flow shields produced by explosive basaltic or basaltic andesite eruptions. Explore the question of why and how basaltic volcanism could produce large constructs by explosive eruptions on Mars but not typically on Earth (Suggested for: petrology).
  • How do the maximum lengths of pyroclastic flows on Mars compare to maximum lengths on Mars? What factors control those lengths and why? (Suggested for: petrology).

Determining nature and origin of structures on Mars

  • Determine whether Cerberus Fossae on the flanks of Elysium Mons might be the surface expression of a subsurface dike by using THEMIS IR images of features with positive relief cut by extensional fractures plus the criterion that width of dike-induced fracturing is twice the depth to the top of the dike (Suggested for: structural geology, intro geology).
  • Evaluate the model of pit crater chains as forming in unconsolidated material over dilational faults at depth (e.g., Ferrill et al, 2004, GSA Today), including conducting simple analog experiments and using Mohr circles and calculations to determine whether the model is consistent with features of pit crater chains on Mars and what causes similarities/differences with pit crater chains on Earth (Suggested for: structural geology).
  • Map the orientation of wrinkle ridges in a region on Mars and correlate orientations with regional features and likely origins of crustal stresses (Suggested for: structural geology).