by Chris Wayan, 2003
Mars Reborn: homepage -- Index: Martian place names -- Planetocopia: more world-models
Noachia, the southern desert between the Hellas and Argyre seas, is rough. 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 earlier, most catastrophic age: the Noachian.
Still, Noachia hides life. Crater-marshes and lakes dot the desert. The one in the center, a good 400 miles wide, goes unnamed and unnoticed on most Mars maps because it's so old the walls have weathered away, leaving only a low, warmer basin that stood out only when marshes began to grow--just as the Manicouagan Crater in Quebec was abruptly made visible from space when a reservoir flooded it.
South of this lowland, higher-walled craters like Kaiser, Green, and Russell have deep lakes set in ring-forests. Cool jewels in dry 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 all Hellas, is still no larger than Europe or Australia.
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