Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Groundwater Springs Played Important Role In Shaping Mars, Perhaps Sheltering Primitive Life

Date:
December 12, 2008
Source:
European Space Agency
Summary:
Data and images from Mars Express suggest that several Light Toned Deposits, some of the least understood features on Mars, were formed when large amounts of groundwater burst on to the surface. Scientists propose that groundwater had a greater role in shaping the martian surface than previously believed, and may have sheltered primitive life forms as the planet started drying up.

Iani Chaos on Mars, an area where Light Toned Deposits, or LTD, are known to be present. An analysis of data and images from Mars Express suggests that several LTD, some of the least understood structures on Mars, were formed when large amounts of groundwater burst on to the surface. Scientists propose that groundwater had a greater role in shaping the martian surface than previously believed, and may have sheltered primitive life forms as the planet started drying up. This image was obtained with the High Resolution Stereo Camera on board ESA's Mars Express spacecraft.
Credit: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin (G. Neukum)

Data and images from Mars Express suggest that several Light Toned Deposits, some of the least understood features on Mars, were formed when large amounts of groundwater burst on to the surface. Scientists propose that groundwater had a greater role in shaping the martian surface than previously believed, and may have sheltered primitive life forms as the planet started drying up.

Light Toned Deposits (LTDs) - martian sediments that most closely resemble sediments on Earth - are some of the most mysterious sediments on Mars. Causes for their origin remain unknown. Until now, different mechanisms, including volcanic processes, have been proposed for their formation.

LTDs were first discovered by the Viking spacecraft in the late 1970s and have since been at the centre of scientific debate. These deposits occur on a large scale in Arabia Terra, Chaotic Terrain and Valles Marineris, close to the Tharsis volcanic bulge.

Now, based on Mars Express data, scientists propose that these sediments are actually younger than originally believed. Rossi and colleagues report their findings in a paper published in September this year. They have proposed that several LTDs may have been deposited by large-scale springs of groundwater that burst on to the surface, possibly at different times.

Analysis indicates that ground water had a more wide-ranging and important role in martian history than previously believed. Hydrated minerals, relatively young in age, have been found in the region.

Given that the deposits are relatively young in age, and associated with water, they may also have sheltered microbial life from the drier and harsher climate in more recent times on Mars, possibly eliminating the need for a stable atmosphere or a permanent water body.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by European Space Agency. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Rossi et al. Large-scale spring deposits on Mars? Journal of Geophysical Research, 2008; 113 (e8): E08016 DOI: 10.1029/2007JE003062

Cite This Page:

European Space Agency. "Groundwater Springs Played Important Role In Shaping Mars, Perhaps Sheltering Primitive Life." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 December 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081211112307.htm>.
European Space Agency. (2008, December 12). Groundwater Springs Played Important Role In Shaping Mars, Perhaps Sheltering Primitive Life. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081211112307.htm
European Space Agency. "Groundwater Springs Played Important Role In Shaping Mars, Perhaps Sheltering Primitive Life." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081211112307.htm (accessed April 18, 2014).

Share This



More Space & Time News

Friday, April 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Baby Moon 'Peggy' Spotted In Saturn's Rings

New Baby Moon 'Peggy' Spotted In Saturn's Rings

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) A bump in the rings could be a half-mile-wide miniature moon. It was found by accident in Cassini probe images. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Americas Glimpse Total Lunar Eclipse

Americas Glimpse Total Lunar Eclipse

AFP (Apr. 15, 2014) A total lunar eclipse, the first since December 2011, took place early Tuesday morning with the Americas getting the best glimpse. Duration: 1:19 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
NASA Showcases Lunar Eclipse

NASA Showcases Lunar Eclipse

AP (Apr. 15, 2014) Star gazers in parts of North and South America got a rare treat early Tuesday morning - a total eclipse of the moon. (April 15) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Spacecrafts Could Use Urine As Fuel Source

Spacecrafts Could Use Urine As Fuel Source

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) New research says the urea from urine could be recycled for fuel. Urea is filtered out of wastewater when making drinking water. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins