Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Map of Mars When There Was an Ocean


Dr. Brian Hynek of the University of Colorado and fellow geologists have mapped out the once great northern Martian ocean. The great northern ocean (no official name yet) was around 3.5 billion years ago! (For reference: the rocky planets are estimated being about 4.5 billion years old).

Another study by the group revealed the existence of 40,000 river valleys on Mars. The mapping of river valleys and deltas is useful in the exploration of whether or not there was life on Mars. Dr. Gaetano Di Achille stated that knowing where deltas were was useful because "[o]n Earth, deltas and lakes are excellent collectors and preservers of signs of past life. If life ever arose on Mars, deltas may be the key to unlocking Mars' biological past."

Good for these geologists to be applying their skills on the other planets. It is such a shame no physical geographers lent their skills to this or other related projects. We geographers are still stuck on the Earth.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

I've never understood why the only "liquid" the scientists can come up with on Mars is water. True, there are areas on Mars which look as though they were carved by water. When you consider the lowered atmospheric pressure and the constant winds and dust in the air on Mars and the total absence of water then one can see the volumes of flowing dust through the eons as having done the carving, not actual water. I realize this is a heretic thought in some circles but I don't believe actual water was ever present in any quantity on Mars.

Catholicgauze said...

Anonymous,
I am told that the geomorphology of the valleys matches to a "T" Earth-based liquid-formed valleys. The book Traveler's Guide to Mars is a good read on the geology/geography of the planet.
While some may call you a heretic, I wasn't on Mars when it was forming and I lack the physical geographic skills to know for sure, so I'll avoid throwing that term around. I wish you the best of luck in your personal study into finding if there was water on the Red Planet or not.

pensive-art said...

I have seen similar maps on the theme of terraforming;

http://www.reocities.com/fra_nl/

for instance.

ocean facts said...

It's the same as Earth if you add the elements of nature and water.

Anonymous said...

Since we have determined that there is in fact large quantities of water ice just below the surface of many areas on the red planet, we can take the geographical formations as having been created by water as it is the most likely event. Mars, Venus and us are in the "Goldilocks" zone of the solar system, so since water has been found on Venus and Earth to be the primary shaper of the geography, it is reasonable to infer that water was equally responsible on Mars. There is a thin atmosphere on Mars that may have once been far denser, which would make the planet warm enough for liquid water on the surface, at least part of the year.