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Catastrophic melting and outflow of buried ice lake on Mars created Aram chaos

Last Updated: Saturday, September 14, 2013 - 15:03

Washington: A new study has claimed that Aram Chaos - the lumpy, bumpy floor of an ancient impact crater on Mars - formed because of catastrophic melting and outflow of a buried ice lake on Red Planet.

The new study combines observations from satellite photos of the 280 kilometer wide and four kilometer deep crater plus models of the ice melting process and resulting catastrophic outflow.

Manuel Roda from Utrecht University said that about 3.5 billion years ago, the pristine Aram impact crater was partly filled with water ice that was buried under a two-kilometer thick layer of sediment.

He said that this layer isolated the ice from surface temperatures, but it gradually melted over a period of millions of years due to the heat released by the planet.

Roda asserted that the sediment overlying fluid water became unstable and collapsed.

The resulting massive expulsion of a hundred thousand cubic kilometers of liquid water was four times the volume of Lake Baikal, the largest freshwater lake on Earth.

The water carved a valley of 10 kilometers wide and 2 kilometers deep in about one month and a chaotic pattern of blocks was left in the Aram crater.


First Published: Saturday, September 14, 2013 - 15:03

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