Today, most of the water on Mars is firmly hidden in its polar ice caps, but once in abundance on this planet, new research suggests that overflowing lakes may have carved the planet's dramatic canyons.
As Phys.org According to reports, billions of years ago the water would have spurted through huge rivers on Mars that emptied into craters that eventually became vast seas and lakes.
Now, new research conducted by the University of Texas at Austin has evidences that sometimes these crater lakes have become so full of water that swollen lakes have overflowed from their basins, which would have created floods that were large enough that finished. creating canyons of the planet. In fact, it is even believed that some of these floods on Mars would have been of such intensity that canyons may have been formed in just a few weeks.
The lead author of the new study, Tim Goudge, who is a postdoctoral researcher at UT Jackson's School of Geosciences, explained that his new research reveals that geological activities such as flooding may have had a much greater impact than plate tectonics now see on Mars today.
"These broken lakes are quite common and some of them are quite large, some as large as the Caspian Sea. So we found that this style of catastrophic flooding and rapid incision of exit canyons was probably very important on the surface of Mars. "
Overflowing crater lakes carved canyons across Mars @utaustin https://t.co/diDcwZtLTS
– Phys.org (@physorg_com) November 16, 2018
Scientists already know that many of Mars' craters have already been filled with water and turned into paleolagos. More than 200 of these paleolagos were seen alongside ravines that sometimes extend for hundreds of miles, but before this new research scientists were unable to determine whether these canyons were formed rapidly or for long periods of time, which could last millions. years.
When looking at the photographs of NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter satellite, researchers carefully analyzed the topography of 24 paleolakes, crater edges and their exits, and found evidence of flooding here. In fact, one of the paleolagos studied was the Jezero Crater, which is currently being considered as a possible landing site for the Mars 2020 probe.
As Goudge remarked, "This tells us that things that are different between planets are not as important as the basic physics of the overflow process and the size of the basin. You can learn more about this process by comparing different planets instead of just thinking about what is happening on Earth or what is happening on Mars. "
The new study, which describes how Mars canyons were probably formed by overflowing lakes, was published in Geology.