The cratered highlands located northwest of Isidis Planitia have been recognized as one of the best preserved Noachian landscapes currently exposed on Mars; the area hosts a record of diverse surface processes, diagenesis, and aqueous alteration. This region has consistently been considered a high priority for landed-mission exploration and includes the anticipated landing site of the Mars 2020 Perseverance rover within Jezero crater. Past mapping, focused on Jezero crater and the surrounding area, Nili Planum, has varied in spatial extent, map scale, and purpose, though no previous maps have provided a continuous, high-resolution geologic map at uniform scale connecting the two locations. This map represents the first, large-scale, continuous geologic map spanning both Jezero crater and Nili Planum that is based on high-resolution images.
The map area contains the majority of both Jezero crater and Nili Planum at a publication map scale of 1:75,000, which was chosen to encompass the Jezero and southern Nili Planum landing sites under consideration for the Mars 2020 mission at the time of project initiation. This map covers an area that is exactly 1° by 1° (~60 by 60 km), spanning lat 76.8° N. to long 77.8° E. and lat 17.7° to long 18.7° N. The primary base map used for this geologic map is composed of Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter’s Context Camera (CTX) images, compiled into a 6 meter per pixel (m/pixel) mosaic. A nighttime Thermal Emission Imaging System 100 m/pixel image mosaic, digital terrain models constructed from CTX images, High-Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) topographic data, and High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRise) images also aided in unit identification and the assessment of stratigraphic relations. We defined map units on the basis of various characteristics visible in the CTX data at map scale, such as their texture, tone, morphology, marginal characteristics, geographic location, and stratigraphic relations to other units. Some units occur solely within Jezero crater, while Nili Planum contains a sequence of units that are present across the broader northwest Isidis Planitia region. Other units occur in both Jezero crater and Nili Planum, including bedrock, aeolian, and crater units. This map publication provides a regional geologic framework that connects the geologic units across Jezero crater and Nili Planum and the history they imply, facilitates future local-scale observations by landed missions of the Jezero crater and Nili Planum region, and enables the extrapolation of units that have been defined primarily by mineralogic composition to areas where there is no existing orbital spectroscopic data.
|Title||Geologic map of Jezero crater and the Nili Planum region, Mars|
|Authors||Vivian Z. Sun, Kathryn M. Stack|
|Publication Subtype||USGS Numbered Series|
|Series Title||Scientific Investigations Map|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||Astrogeology Science Center|