This work aims to test the formation hypotheses of the rafted-plate morphology observed in the Martian area of Athabasca Valles (5 degrees N, 150 degrees E,) using the subsurface radar echo from the Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface and Ionosphere Sounding (MARSIS) 5 MHz-band data over this area. The backscattered signal losses are compared to those arising from two geoelectrical subsurface models (differing in their assumed ice content) generated by finite-difference time-domain (FDTD) simulations. Within this region, the MARSIS signal experience average losses of 0.09dB/m in the first 160 m beneath the surface. FDTD simulations suggests that, if the near-surface environment is ice-rich (80% by volume), it will result in average losses of 0.048dB/m, whereas the losses associated with an ice-poor model (20% of ice by volume) increase to 0.10dB/m. Comparing the observed MARSIS losses with the simulated ones suggests that the propagation characteristics of Athabasca's subsurface are more consistent with a volcanic rather than a fluvial origin for the rafted-plate terrain.
2009 IEEE Radar Conference MAY 04-08, 2009 Pasadena, CA