MARSIS radar sounder observations in the vicinity of Ma'adim Vallis, Mars

Oliver L. White, Ali Safaeinili, Jeffrey J. Plaut, Ellen R. Stofan, Stephen M. Clifford, William M. Farrell, Essam Heggy, Giovanni Picardi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)


The MARSIS radar experiment aboard the ESA Mars Express satellite has recorded several unusual reflections in the Ma'adim Vallis region of Mars. These reflections display a wide variety of morphologies which are very different from those of reflections seen beneath the Polar Layered Deposits, Medusae Fossae Formation and Dorsa Argentea Formation. Their morphologies are sometimes very laterally extensive, parabolic or hyperbolic, and apparently deep, but they can also appear horizontal and shallow. Aided by a geological map of the Ma'adim Vallis region, the morphological, locational and temporal characteristics of the reflections have been studied individually in an attempt to constrain their origin. While some may be subsurface reflections based on their shallow morphologies and correlation with the Eridania Planitia basin network, all of the reflections are ambiguous to some degree, displaying characteristics that do not allow a definite subsurface- or possibly ionospheric-sourced mechanism to be proposed for their creation. Those with more exaggerated morphologies are regarded as being much more likely to result from ionospheric distortion rather than subsurface inhomogeneity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)460-473
Number of pages14
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2009



  • Ionospheres
  • Mars
  • Radar observations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

Cite this

White, O. L., Safaeinili, A., Plaut, J. J., Stofan, E. R., Clifford, S. M., Farrell, W. M., Heggy, E., & Picardi, G. (2009). MARSIS radar sounder observations in the vicinity of Ma'adim Vallis, Mars. Icarus, 201(2), 460-473.