Washington: A geologic mapping project using NASA spacecraft data offers new evidence that expansive lakes did exist long ago on Mars.
A series of sedimentary deposits indicates the presence of large standing bodies of water in Hellas Planitia located in the southern hemisphere of Mars, said by Dr. Leslie Bleamaster, research scientist at the Planetary Science Institute.
These deposits resulted from erosion and transport of highland rim materials into a basin-wide standing body of water, Bleamaster said.
Hellas basin, more than 2,000 km across and 8 km deep, is the largest recognized impact structure on the Martian surface, according to him.
“This mapping makes geologic interpretations consistent with previous studies, and constrains the timing of these putative lakes to the early-middle Noachian period on Mars, between 4.5 and 3.5 billion years ago,” he said.
The circum-Hellas highlands represent a significant percentage of the southern hemisphere of Mars and have served as a locus for volcanic and sedimentary activity throughout Martian geologic time.
“Our mapping and evaluation of landforms and materials of the Hellas region from the basin rim to floor provides further insight into Martian climate regimes and into the abundance, distribution, and flux of volatiles through history,” Bleamaster added.