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The North Polar Basin is the large blue low-lying area at the top of this topographical map. Its elliptical shape is partially obscured by volcanic eruptions (red, center left).

The North Polar Basin, or Borealis basin, is a large basin in the northern hemisphere of Mars that covers 40% of the planet. It is named for the North Polar Basin on Earth, due to its similar location. Chryse Planitia, the landing site of the Viking 1 lander, is a bay which empties into this basin.

One possible explanation for the basin's low, flat and relatively crater-free topography is that that the basin was formed by a single large impact. Two simulations of a possible impact sketched a profile for the collision: low velocity (6 – 10 km/s), oblique angle and diameter 1,600 - 2,700 km.[1][2] Topographical data from the Mars Global Surveyor are consistent with the models and also suggests that the elliptical crater has axes of length 10,600 km and 8,500 km, centered on 67°N, 208°E, though this has been partially obscured by later volcanic eruptions that created the Tharsis bulge along its rim. There is evidence for a secondary rim as well.[3][4]


  1. ^ Marinova, et al. (2008). "Mega-impact formation of the Mars hemispheric dichotomy". Nature 453: 1216–1219. doi:10.1038/nature07070.  
  2. ^ Nimmo, et al. (2008). "Implications of an impact origin for the Martian hemispheric dichotomy". Nature 453: 1220–1223. doi:10.1038/nature07025.  
  3. ^ Andrews-Hanna, et al. (2008). "The Borealis basin and the origin of the Martian crustal dichotomy". Nature 453: 1212–1215. doi:10.1038/nature07011.  
  4. ^ "Huge Impact Created Mars' Split Personality". Retrieved 2008-07-01.  

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