F. Costard, J. A. P. Rodriguez, E. Godin, A. Séjourné, J. S. Kargel

Deciphering Martian Flood Infiltration Processes at Hebrus Valles: Insights From Laboratory Experiments and Remote Sensing Observations

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

AbstractIn evaluating the unique geomorphology of Hebrus Valles on Mars, an outflow channel southeast of Utopia Planitia, we investigated the role of fluvial dynamics in forming subsurface conduits. Unlike typical Martian channels that terminate under younger sediment rocks, Hebrus Valles retains its downstream features, thus offering a window into surface and subsurface interactions between liquid water and regolith. Employing physical lab simulations, we utilized buried polygonal tunneling configurations in a sandy matrix to replicate the incision features observed at the channel's terminus. This study provides the first lab‐based evidence demonstrating the role of conduits in conveying large floods in the Hebrus Valles. Our results lend support to the interpretation that Hebrus Valles conveyed high‐volume floods by demonstrating that conduits are necessary to form the features observed on the surface of Hebrus Valles. The experiments also highlight the role of sinkholes as floodwater capture points, which suggests the formation of a regional interconnected network of subsurface channels and caverns. These findings affirm that fluvial dynamics in Hebrus Valles could have expanded subsurface discontinuities into functioning conduit systems, potentially directing floodwaters through an interconnected subterranean network.

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