The Circum-Hellas Volcanic Province, Mars: Assessment of wrinkle-ridged plains

David Williams, Ronald Greeley, Leon Manfredi, Jouko Raitala, Gerhard Neukum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Wrinkle-ridged plains, common on the terrestrial planets, are inferred to form by tectonic deformation of volcanic or sedimentary surfaces. If wrinkle-ridged plains adjacent to volcanic features originated from volcanic activity associated with the features, then the plains should have similar ages to the volcanic features, as well as other morphological or compositional indicators of volcanism. We test this hypothesis on several regions of wrinkle-ridged plains bounding the Circum-Hellas Volcanic Province (CHVP). We constructed THEMIS daytime-IR mosaics (spatial resolution 100m/pixel) and performed crater counts to determined cratering model formation ages of these regions. We found ages of 3.4-3.7Ga for SE Malea Planum, 3.6-3.7Ga for W Promethei Terra, 3.5-3.7Ga for Hesperia Planum, and 3.6-3.8Ga for the eastern Hellas basin floor, all of which are contemporaneous with the formation of the major volcanic edifices (3.6-3.8Ga) in the CHVP. Although examination of available MOC, CTX, HiRISE, THEMIS, and HRSC data shows few examples of features definitive of a volcanic origin of these wrinkle-ridged plains, HRSC true color images (50-100m/pixel) show that large areas of these plains have a dark blue-black color, consistent with previous Viking and Mars Express HRSC and OMEGA color-spectral studies indicative of basaltic compositions. However, in some areas this color may be due to aeolian mantles rather than underlying bedrock. Thus, we cannot demonstrate unequivocally that these wrinkle-ridged plains are volcanic, beyond the synchronicity of their formation ages with those of the CHVP volcanoes. Nevertheless, if these wrinkle-ridged plains were originally formed by volcanic activity, or other processes induced by volcanic activity, then the inclusion of these regions brings the size of the CHVP to >4.86×106km2, comparable in size to the Elysium volcanic province. Thus, the CHVP may have been a dominant source of volcanism early in Martian history.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)492-505
Number of pages14
JournalEarth and Planetary Science Letters
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Jun 1 2010


  • Hellas basin
  • Impact crater statistics
  • Mars Express HRSC
  • Mars volcanism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science


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