Field geology of Mars equator suggests ancient megafloods in the past

Date:25 November 2020 Author: Kyro Mitchell

Researchers from Jackson State University, Cornell, University of Hawaii, and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory have teamed up to analyse data collected by the Curiosity Rover regarding the geology on the equator of Mars, which suggest the Gale Crater on the Martian surface was once home to ‘Floods of unimaginable magnitude,’ as they describe it.

Researchers involved in the study believe the colossal flood could have started in the centre of a meteorite impact which melted large quantities of ice stored on the Martian surface. They also point towards huge ripples on the surface near the equator which indicate signs of a flood to back up their theory of huge floods taking place on Mars. The same rippled structures are present on Earth.

Mars has giant wave-shaped features in the sedimentary layers of Gale Crater, referred to as “megaripples” or antidunes. The features are about 9 meters high and spaced about 137 meters apart. They are indicative of flowing water in the bottom of Gale crater about 4 billion years ago. The structures are identical to features formed by melting ice on Earth about 2 million years ago.

“Early Mars was an extremely active planet from a geological point of view. The planet had the conditions needed to support the presence of liquid water on the surface, and on Earth, where there’s water, there’s life,” said co-author of the study, Alberto G. Fairén.

Click here to read a full breakdown of the study.


Picture: NASA

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