Vernadsky-Brown Microsymposium 37

Mars: Formation and evolution of the Late Amazonian

latitude-dependent ice-rich mantling layer

March 15-16, 2003

This year the Microsymposium will focus on Mars and the topic of the volatile-rich, latitude-dependent surficial mantling layer of Late Amazonian age discovered by analysis of earlier spacecraft data, and recently documented in detail by Mars Global Surveyor and Mars Odyssey data. This documentation shows that the layer thickness is measured in meters, that there are several lines of evidence that it is ice-rich, that it is very young, that it is characterized by a distinctive set of associated geological features, and that it is very likely to be related to recent climatic fluctuations.

Among the key questions to be addressed are:

1. What are the distinctive geological features associated with this layer and what do they tell us about processes of formation and evolution?

2. What is the ratio of water ice and dust and how does it vary within the deposit?

3. How thick is the deposit and how does thickness vary with latitude?

4. How does this layer relate to the present polar deposit in reference to time and mode of emplacement?

5. What emplacement model best accounts for its characteristics?

6. How does this layer relate to the earlier history of Mars? Were similar deposits emplaced then?

7. What new information and measurements can help resolve outstanding questions?


The Microsymposium will be held at the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston, Texas, beginning at 1pm on Saturday, March 15, and will conclude Sunday, March 16, by 12noon. If you are interested in participating in the Microsymposium, please respond to this e-mail by answering the questions below. The Microsymposium will emphasize open discussion format but will be anchored by several invited overviews, posters, and some short contributed papers and commentaries.


____ I would like to attend Microsymposium 37.

I would like to make a contribution on the following subject or theme:


____ I will be unable to attend.


We ask that responses be made by December 1, 2002 to Please forward this announcement to any interested students and colleagues.


James W. Head and Alexander Basilevsky