Using pedestal craters to constrain the deflation rate of the Medusae Fossae Formation, Mars
Allen, Joel Glenn
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Near the Martian equator lies the Medusae Fossae Formation (MFF), a discontinuous layered deposit spanning 5500 km, 2.3 x 10 6 km 3 , and marked by yardangs and other features consistent with aeolian deflation. Pedestal craters, a class of impact crater also consistent with aeolian deflation, occur on and around the outcrops of the MFF. This study constrains the rate of deflation for the MFF using the heights and locations of pedestal craters to further the discussion on the MFF's origins. Popular hypotheses for the MFF include ignimbrite, welded airfall, aeolian, and polar-layered deposit. Few impact craters lie on the MFF, suggesting that it is geologically young (≤2.9 Ga). The recent production of this voluminous deposit requires a geologically active Mars. Using 676 pedestal craters to study possible previous extents of the MFF the estimated eroded volume of material is 5.8 - 12.7 x 10 5 km 3 , or 1.2 - 1.9 times current MFF volume. Estimating the age of deposition for the MFF is between 2.9 Ga - 100 Ma, the deflation rate of the MFF ranges from 2.86 - 9530 nm/yr or 98 - 11,000 km 3 /Ma. Further research should utilize this study's database of pedestal crater locations to investigate their preferential occurrence.