Stratigraphic analysis of the distributary fan in Eberswalde crater using stereo imagery



[1] The eroded remains of a fluvial distributary network in Eberswalde crater are uniquely well preserved among similar structures on Mars. A quantitative analysis of the exposed stratigraphy has been performed to investigate the internal structure of the deposit. Using topographic information derived from stereo pairs of high-resolution Mars Orbiter Camera images, we have for the first time quantified the orientation of individual layers exposed along the distal end of the distributary network. In combination with topographic data from the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter, we have examined plausible scenarios for the formation of this structure. We find that the evidence is inconsistent with formation both as an alluvial fan and as a progradational delta. Instead, we find that an aggradational delta best fits the observed characteristics of the channel network and the Eberswalde basin as a whole. We conclude that the delta likely formed not in a stable long-lived lake but over the course of a small number of shorter lacustrine episodes, which were not sustained at equilibrium conditions.