Ice-covered lake cracked open to cause colossal Mars flood millions of years ago
A new research suggests that Mars may have had its colossal flood millions of years ago, when an ice-covered lake cracked open and gushed to the surface.
Several huge channels seem to originate in the boulder-strewn floors of deep chasms and impact craters on the Red Planet, New Scientist reported.
Victor Baker at the University of Arizona in Tucson said that huge amounts of water had to flow through these channels.
But the terrain dates from a time when Mars was evolving into the cold desert we see today. Where did the water come from?
Manuel Roda at Utrecht University in the Netherlands took a closer look at a crater called Aram Chaos. It has a channel 10 kilometres wide and 2 kilometres deep leading away from it.
To carve such a channel, Roda and his team calculate that almost 90,000 cubic kilometres of water must have flowed through it for perhaps a month.
The team thinks that a lake filled the crater when Mars was warmer. As the planet cooled, the lake froze solid and was covered with an insulating layer of sediment. At the same time, geothermal energy warmed the ice from below, creating a liquid layer.
Thousands of years later, the weakened sediment layer suddenly collapsed, breaking the ice and letting water rush to the surface.
Until now, this scenario has only been theoretical, and now said that they have geological and hydrological evidence that this process could have occurred on Mars during its early history.
(Posted on 30-04-2014)