Catalogue of large alluvial fans in martian impact craters

Erin R. Kraal, Erik Asphaug, Jeffery M. Moore, Alan Howard, Adam Bredt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


We conducted a systematic, global survey using Thermal Emission Imaging System Infrared (THEMIS IR) coverage (∼100 m/pixel) to search for large alluvial fans in impact craters on Mars. Our survey has focused on large fans (apron areas greater than ∼40 km2, usually located in craters greater than 20 km in diameter) due to the resolution of the THEMIS images and Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) coverage. We find that the host craters are found to have a distinctive diameter range from 30-150 km. The fans generally cluster in three geographic areas-southern Margaritifer Terra, southwestern Terra Sabaea, and southwestern Tyrrhena Terra, however several outliers do exist. The alluvial fans do not form in a particular orientation along the crater rim nor are they associated with the location of current high rim topography. Fan area magnitude and variability increase with crater diameter while fan concavity magnitude and variability increase with decreasing crater diameter. Smaller fan aprons in general have higher, more variable concavity. The source of the water forming these fans is uncertain given the challenges of accommodating the global distribution pattern and formation patterns within the craters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)101-110
Number of pages10
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Geological processes
  • Mars
  • climate
  • surface

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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