Water overflowing from ancient lakes on Mars created catastrophic floods that quickly slashed canyons on the red planet over three…
Water overflowing from ancient lakes on Mars created catastrophic floods that quickly slashed canyons on the red planet over three billion years ago, a study has found.
The findings suggest that disastrous geological processes could have played a major part in shaping the landscape of Mars and other worlds without plot tonic, said Tim Goudge, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Texas, Austin, USA.
“These broken lakes are quite common and some of them are quite large, some as big as the Caspian Sea,” says Goudge, senior author of the study published in the journal Geology.
“So we like this kind of catastrophic floods and rapid cuts of outlet cannons were probably important on the early Mars surface.”
From studying rock formations from satellite images, scientists know that hundreds of craters across the Mars surface are a once filled with water.
More than 200 of these “paleolakes” have outlet cannons tens of hundreds of kilometers long and several kilometers wide shed of water flowing from the old lakes.
However, it was not known if the canyons were gradually chopped over millions of years or cut quickly through individual floods.
Using high resolution images taken by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter satellite, researchers investigated topography of drainage and crater rims and found a correlation between the outlet size and the volume of water expected to be released during a major flood event.
If the outlet had gradually disappeared over time, the ratio of water volume to outlet size probably would not last, Goudge said.
In total, the researchers reviewed 24 paleolakes and their outlet cannons over the red planet. One of the paleolakers investigated in the study, Jezero Crater, is a potential landing site for NASA’s March 2020 rover mission to look for signs of past lives.
Researchers suggested the crater as a landing site based on previous studies that found it held Water for long periods in the March past.
While massive floods flowing from martian craters can sound like a scene in a science fiction novel, a similar process occurs on Earth when lakes dammed by glaciers break through their odd barriers.
They found that the similarity is more than shallow. As long as the gravity is reported, floods create drains of similar shapes, whether they are on Earth or Mars.
Although large floods on Mars and Earth are controlled by the same mechanics, they fit into different geological paradigms. On earth, the slow and constant movement of tectonic plates dramatically changes the planet’s surface for millions of years.
By contrast, the lack of flat tonics on Mars means that catastrophic events ̵
1; like floods and asteroid affect – quickly create changes that can result in near permanent changes in the landscape.
“The landscape on Earth does not preserve large lakes for a very long time,” said NASA researcher Caleb Fassett.
“But on Mars, these canyons have been there for 3.7 billion years, and it gives us an insight into what the surface of the deep water was like on Mars,” says Fassett.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)