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by Chris Wayan, 2003

Mars Reborn: homepage -- Index: Martian place names -- Planetocopia: more world-models

Orbital photo of a terraformed Mars 1000 years from now: the Noachian Desert. Model by Chris Wayan. Click to enlarge.

Noachia is the southern desert between the Hellas and Argyre Seas. Rough country--craters piled upon craters, and both the Hellas and Argyre impacts sent flying molten mountains raining down on the resulting mess. This shattered land gave its name to Mars's earliest, most catastrophic age (and it's the planet of catastrophes): the Noachian.

Still, Noachia hides life. Crater-marshes and lakes dot the desert. The one in the center, a good 500 km wide (300 mi), goes unnamed and unnoticed on most Mars maps because it's so old the walls have weathered away, leaving only a low, warmer basin with denser air; it stood out only well into the terraforming process, when two lakes grew and the rest of the crater floor became savanna and marsh, creating a (slightly) green(er) circle in the red waste, just as Manicouagan Crater in Quebec abruptly became obvious in satellite photos only after a reservoir flooded it. Rings of communities line the lakeshores and the foot of the ringwall, where streams descend. Not densely populated, but about as urban as you get in Noachia.

South of this lowland, higher-walled craters like Kaiser, Green, and Russell have deep lakes set in ring-forests. Blue-green jewels in dry red matrix.

The Hellespont Depression, west of the Mountains of Mitchel (the white tongue emerging from the ice cap, bottom center) gets occasional storms from both Hellas and Argyre Seas, sustaining extensive tundra. Malea Plain, east of the Mountains, stretching to the Hellas Sea, is even lower, wetter, and grassier--a true steppe.

Over a million caribou, wolves, ice bears, megaravens, and Martian mammoths wander this tenuous corridor between the two south seas, Hellas and Argyre. Nearly all the life in the Southern Hemisphere is along this Hellas-Argyre temperate strip, stretching halfway round the world.

True, it's a small world. The whole strip, including both sea-basins, is still no larger than Europe or Australia.

Map of Mars. Click a feature to go there.
Index of Martian place names. Or for a tour, the following route snakes around Mars, covering all major features:

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