Size Frequency Distribution of Martian Craters and Relative Age of Light and Dark Terrains

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Science  18 Feb 1972:
Vol. 175, Issue 4023, pp. 755-757
DOI: 10.1126/science.175.4023.755


Light and dark terrains in and around Meridiani Sinus, mapped on the imagery from Mariner 6 and Mariner 7, were found to have significantly different cumulative size frequency distributions of craters. The light terrain on a mosaic of frames 6N11, 6N13, and 6N19 has a greater proportion of large craters and a lesser proportion of smaller craters than the dark terrain on the same frames. The light terrain is interpreted to be generally older than the dark terrain. The filling or partial filling of the smaller craters on the light terrain by surface detritus is suggested. Several wide-angle frames have remarkably similar cumulative crater size frequency distributions that may be representative of a large portion of the martian surface.