▪ Abstract 

Wrinkle ridges accommodate very low amounts of shortening strain around immense volcanic constructs and within impact basins on Mars. They originate from stresses distributed uniformly throughout the brittle lithosphere and are consistently located in stratified deposits, including lava flows and sediment. Most recent models interpret wrinkle ridges as the surface manifestation of folding above underlying blind thrusts that accommodate similarly low strain and likely penetrate tens of kilometers into the brittle crust. Alternative models suggest shortening accommodated by some wrinkle ridges is confined to only the upper few kilometers of the crust. The interpretation of the geometry of blind thrusts on Mars appears to be quite varied and remains controversial, although some models suggest they may ultimately flatten into the brittle-ductile transition in the middle to lower crust. Small-scale crenulations superposed on ridges are interpreted as produced by high-level back thrusts nucleating at a weak layer in the upper crust, or by flexural slip faults that facilitate bending of layered materials. Wrinkle ridges are related to their structural cousins, lobate scarps that accommodate shortening in older Noachian cratered highlands as surface fault ruptures. Wrinkle ridges thus form when displacement across upwardly propagating blind thrusts is consumed by folding of layered material near the surface. Conversely, lobate scarps are formed by blind thrusts that are not impeded by folding of overlying layered deposits. Broad, low-amplitude arches associated with ridges on the Tharsis rise also accommodate shortening, but their relationship to adjacent or superposed ridges remains enigmatic. The evenly spaced nature of wrinkle ridges that appears to vary systematically between the ridged plains and northern lowlands may be related to the depth of the brittle-ductile transition, which is respectively located in the middle crust and upper mantle in these regions.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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