Geophysical Research Letters

Possible climate-related signals in high-resolution topography of lobate debris aprons in Tempe Terra, Mars



[1] Lobate debris aprons are common features in the mid-latitudes of Mars that are assumed to be the result of the flow of ice-rich material. We produce high-resolution digital elevation models of two of these features in the Tempe Terra region of Mars using HiRISE stereo images. We identify two main topographic features of different wavelength using a power spectrum analysis approach. Short wavelength features, between approximately 10 and 20 m in length, correspond to a polygonal surface texture present throughout our study area. Long wavelength features, between approximately 700 and 1800 m in length, correspond to broad ridges that are up to 20 m in amplitude. We interpret both topographic signals to be the likely result of climate change affecting the debris contribution and/or the flow regime of the lobate debris aprons. The apparent surface age of about 300 Ma could be evidence of an astronomical forcing mechanism recorded in these lobate debris aprons at this time in Mars' history.