University of Arizona
Date Published: October 9, 2001
Title: Ancient, Gigantic Drainage Basin Become Aquifer On Mars
An enormous ancient drainage basin and aquifer system lies hidden and deformed in one of the most geologically dynamic landscapes on Mars, scientists conclude from a comprehensive, more than 10-year study. They estimate that a basin almost the size of the United States or Europe for billions of years covered part of Tharsis, a magmatically active bulge in the western
hemisphere. Tharsis landforms are a complex of towering volcanoes, lava flow fields, igneous plateaus, fault and rift systems, flood channels, vast canyon systems, and tectonic features. Most scientists believe that periodic release of internal planetary heat at Tharsis has for more than three billion years had a major impact on Mars' geology, hydrology and climate. Parts of the aquifer may harbor near-surface water and possibly life, they add.
9 October 2001: Ancient, Gigantic Drainage Basin Become Aquifer On Mars
Credit: University of Arizona/NASA