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The dispersal of pyroclasts from Apollinaris Patera, Mars: implications for the origin of the Medusae Fossae Formation.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


  • Laura Kerber
  • James Head
  • Jean-Baptiste Madeleine
  • François Forget
  • Lionel Wilson
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>11/2011
Number of pages9
<mark>Original language</mark>English


The Medusae Fossae Formation (MFF) has long been thought to be of Amazonian age, but recent studies propose that a significant part of its emplacement occurred in the Hesperian and that many of the Amazonian ages represent modification (erosional and redepositional) ages. On the basis of the new formational age, we assess the hypothesis that explosive eruptions from Apollinaris Patera might have been the source of the Medusae Fossae Formation. In order to assess the likelihood of this hypothesis, we examine stratigraphic relationships between Apollinaris Patera and the MFF and analyze the relief of the MFF using topographic data. We predict the areal distribution of tephra erupted from Apollinaris Patera using a Mars Global Circulation Model (GCM) combined with a semi-analytical explosive eruption model for Mars, and compare this with the distribution of the MFF. We conclude that Apollinaris Patera could have been responsible for the emplacement of the Medusae Fossae Formation.