Geochronology of Mars

Martain geologic time is unfortunately recorded using a couple of different systems, one based on cratering the other on minerals. Both are illustrated below, however we will use the commonly used one based on cratering.

Noachian epoch (named after Noachis Terra): Formation of the oldest extant surfaces of Mars, 4.5 billion years ago to 3.5 billion years ago. Noachian age surfaces are scarred by many large impact craters. The Tharsis bulge volcanic upland is thought to have formed during this period, with extensive flooding by liquid water late in the epoch. There is evidence Mars may have been struck by an Pluto-sized body about four billion years ago. The event created the smooth, 10,000 km-wide Borealis basin in the northern hemisphere and established the marked dichotomy between the hemispheres.

Hesperian epoch (named after Hesperia Planum): 3.5 billion years ago to 1.8 billion years ago. Hesperian epoch is marked by the formation of extensive lava plains.

Amazonian epoch (named after Amazonis Planitia): 1.8 billion years ago to present. Amazonian regions have few meteorite impact craters but are otherwise quite varied. Olympus Mons formed during this period along with many lava flows elsewhere on Mars.

Geochronology of Mars

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