This map is one of a series of large-scale (1:500,000) geologic maps of Mars initiated by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to investigate areas of high scientific interest. The Gusev crater–Ma’adim Vallis region includes several potential landing sites for future Mars missions, including those with a focus on exobiology studies and sample return. Channels in the map area span a long age range, cut ancient rocks that may contain important biogenic information, and funneled water into exobiologically important lacustrine basins. The map area is characterized by diverse geologic units representing a variety of endogenic and exogenic processes. The geologic history of this region spans the entire history of the planet.
The base map was compiled from controlled pho-tomosaic maps of the Mars Transverse Mercator (MTM) –15182 and –15187 quadrangles (U.S. Geological Survey, 1992a, b). The map area is in the Aeolis re-gion, which was first mapped from Mariner 9 images at 1:5,000,000 scale (Scott and others, 1978) and at 1:25,000,000 scale (Scott and Carr, 1978). On the basis of Viking data, the area was later mapped at 1:15,000,000 scale (Greeley and Guest, 1987) and in part at 1:5,000,000 scale (Scott and Chapman, 1995). Recently, the area was mapped at 1:1,000,000 scale by Landheim (1995). This 1:500,000-scale map shows a great diversity of geologic materials and demonstrates a more complete understanding of fluvial processes in the highland plains, the evolution of Ma’adim Vallis, and sedimentation in Gusev crater and in de Vaucou-leurs, an ancient 300-km-diameter impact structure west of Gusev crater. Standard photogeologic mapping techniques elucidated by Wilhelms (1990) were used in this work. Viking Orbiter images used to map the area range in resolution from 63 to 70 m/pixel, with small patches at 225 m/pixel.
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For questions about the content of this report, contact Ken Tanaka
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