Water in a Martian desert

Aug 02, 2013
Tagus Valles colour view. Credit: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin (G. Neukum)

Craters once brim-full with sediments and water have long since drained dry, but traces of their former lives as muddy lakes cling on in the Martian desert.

The images were taken on 15 January by ESA's Mars Express, and feature a region just a few degrees south of the within the ancient southern highlands of Mars. The unnamed region lies immediately to the north of an ancient riverbed known as Tagus Valles and east of Tinto Valles and Palos that were presented in an earlier release.

The 34 km-wide crater in the top left of the main images perhaps draws most attention with its chaotic interior. Here, broad flat-topped blocks called mesas can be found alongside smaller parallel wind-blown features known as yardangs.

Both mesas and yardangs were carved from sediments that originally filled the crater, deposited there during a flood event that covered the entire scene. Over time, the weakest sediments were eroded away, leaving the haphazard pattern of stronger blocks behind.

Further evidence of this crater's watery past can be seen in the top right of the crater in the shape of a small, winding river channel.

Clues also hang onto the ghostly outline of an ancient crater some 20 km to the east (below in the main images). While the crater has all but been erased from the , a long meandering channel clearly remains, and flows towards the crater in the centre of the scene.

Tagus Valles topography. Credit: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin (G. Neukum)

This central complex of craters is seen close up in the perspective view below, showing in more detail another channel-like feature, along with a highly deformed crater. Perhaps the rim of this eroded crater was breached as sediments flooded the larger crater.

The crater is also seen from a different angle and in the background of the second perspective view below. In the foreground is one of the deepest craters in the scene, as indicated by the topography map.

Numerous have occurred within this crater, perhaps facilitated by the presence of water weakening the crater walls. Grooves etched into the crater's inner walls mark the paths of tumbling rocks, while larger piles of material have slumped en-masse to litter the crater floor.

A group of interconnected craters with flat floors smoothed over by sediments lie in the lower right part of the main image. One small crater with a prominent debris deposit – an ejecta blanket – lies within the crater.

Deformation in a flooded crater. Credit: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin (G. Neukum)

Ejecta blankets are composed of material excavated from inside the crater during its formation. This particular crater exhibits a 'rampart' ejecta blanket – one with petal-like lobes around its edges. Liquid water bound up in the ejected material allowed it to flow along the surface, giving it a fluid appearance.

But it's not just water that has played a role in this region; volcanic eruptions have also had their say. A dark layer of fine-grained ash covers the top left corner of the main image that may have been deposited from the Elysium volcanic province to the northeast. Over time, the ash was redistributed by wind, and buried deposits exposed in localised areas by erosion.

This region is one of many that exposes evidence of the Red Planet's active past, and shows that the marks of water are engraved in even the most unlikely ancient crater-strewn fields.

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Fedot5
1.7 / 5 (6) Aug 03, 2013
Имеет право на существование и такая версия формирования Земли. Около 4,5 миллиарда лет назад сформировавшиеся Марс, Земля и Венера были одинаковы по составу и приблизительно по размерам. Но ввиду того что в то время орбиты всех планет солнечной системы были эллиптическими с планетой Земля столкнулась планета (либо спутник) группы Юпитера (Сатурна) типа современной Европы в 2-3 раза меньше Земли. В результате лобового столкновения ядро меньшего объекта врезалось в ядро Земли вытолкнув в результате инерции силы удара часть ядра Земли и сернокислую атмосферу ледяной оболочкой (как куриное яйцо при столкновении с биллиардным шаром) на орбиту и образовав выступ магмы с противоположной стороны удара который в последствии стал так называемой Пангеей.. Ледяная азотная и водная оболочки планеты которая столкнулась с Землей окутала поверхность Земли и в результате разницы температур сформировался океан воды в выбитой при столкновении нише и атмосфера а выступ (Пангея) постепенно под действием протяжения и тектонических процессов стал раскалываться и эти куски со временем стали расходиться и образовывать отдельные континенты. А отдельные огромные глыбы льда с ударившего тела врезались глубоко в мантию Земли и образовали резервуары воды под землей благодаря которым мы до сих пор наблюдаем гейзеры, реки, вулканы а осколки от удара разлетевшиеся за пределы притяжения планеты Земля стали кометами и метеоритами которые мы сейчас изучаем… Часть ядра выбитая в результате удара не смогла упасть обратно на Землю, осталась на орбите (как теннисный шарик над фонтанчиком воды) и сформировалась в спутник Земли Луну и ввиду того что самая тяжелая часть Луны оказалась повернутой к Земле то и вращение вокруг оси синхронизировалось с вращением вокруг Земли а также повернутая к Земле часть Луны более гладкая чем обратная сторона и более тяжелая что обуславливает ее ударное происхождение и нынешнее положение на орбите Земли. Эта версия также обьясняет то что более тяжелые элементы в результате такого сильного столкновения оказались частично вытолкнутыми и распыленными в более верхних слоях планеты Земля и ее спутника Луны и человек имеет возможность доступа к ним. Также наличие драгоценных камней в относительно верхних слоях поверхностного слоя твердого базальта свидетельствуют о ударном их происхождении.
Что же касается планеты Марс то предположительно с этой планетой столкнулось меньшее тело которое не пробило Марс с такой силой как планету Земля а только раскололо ядро планеты Марс о чем свидетельствует неоднородность магнитного поля планеты и образовало огромный кратер через который вытекала магма и образовался со временем огромный вулкан и эти процессы привели к сжатию верхнего покрова планеты образовав так называемые "каналы" наблюдаемые с Земли. Как на поверхности яблока которое постепенно сохнет на солнце уменьшаясь в размере. Что же касается присутствия воды на этой планете то все зависит от состава тела которое возможно столкнулось с планетой Марс в прошлом и можно предполагать что возможно под поверхностью и есть вода так как на поверхности нет таких как на планете Земля глубоких образований (моря и океаны) для скапливания там жидких образований.
ubavontuba
1 / 5 (4) Aug 03, 2013
Fedot5, I gave you a 5 just for getting around the 1.000 character limit.

Anyway, some of what you say makes sense, I particularly like your hypothesis that the heavy elements found on Earth's surface are the result of splash from a collision impacting through Earth's core. The problem with this (I think), is the volume of heavy elements on the surface is too low for this to be the case.

Consisting primarily of metamorphic and igneous rock, the continents are generally formed of lighter materials than Earth's core (primarily iron) and even the ocean basins (basaltic rock) and therefore 'float' on the surface (like ice cubes in a glass of water).

Your case for Mars and Olympus Mons is similarly interesting, but unlikely.

I do hope Mars has vast underground water features too though (similar to Earth's aquifers). Who knows what might lurk within?

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