Grid-Mapping Mars – Quantifying the Geography of Landforms

To better understand the role of climatic environments on Mars, we applied the so- called grid-mapping approach in order to quantify the geographic distribution of climate-related landforms on the planet’s southern hemisphere. Grid-mapping combines small-scale mapping with large-scale analyses; thus, it is possible to reveal relations that are only visible from a wider perspective. While the northern mid-latitudes of Mars have already been analysed by using this method, there is no adequate equivalent on the opposite hemisphere. As the southern highlands are much older, we considered all latitudes along a 100 km wide swath from the equator to the south pole (separated into three different study areas), in order to cover all climatic environments. Based on these results, we detected three major «climate zones» in the study area; desiccated low latitudes (0°-35°S), volatile-rich mid-latitudes (35°-70°S), exposed to seasonal freeze-thaw- processes, as well as the polar high latitudes (60°-90°S), covered by deep volatile-rich deposits being partially eroded by sublimation activities.