Rivers on ancient Mars were broader than the earth

Geologists have compared the water basins of Mars and Earth and, after topographic analysis, came to the conclusion that the rivers of the red planet was wider than the earth. They also found evidence that, even without most of the atmosphere, carried away by the solar wind of the 3.5 billion years ago on the surface of Mars still flowed copious streams, which recurred intermittently during the period from 3.6 to 1 billion years ago. Article published in Science Advances.

In the pictures from Mars, you can see that its surface is strewn riverbeds, which are the remains of an extensive system of streams and rivers. Channel of these rivers serve as a rich source of information about passing through them the water and climate of ancient Mars. For example, the width and slope of the river bed and the size of the gravel to allow you to understand the power of flowing water streams. Determination of the parameters of these rivers — one of the challenges when creating models of climate evolution of the planet.

Today scientists do not fully understand how the Martian climate changed billions of years ago. It is believed that in the later periods of the history of Mars (Hesperia and Amazonite) when the atmosphere became thin, the precipitation could occur in several places or they have not been. The water could still occur: for example, in the fall of the asteroidthat caused the ice melting and release of groundwater resources. However, the study of sediments with the Rover “Curiosity” shows that the creation of available channels required more water than could occur from-for falling of asteroids. While the deposits of ancient rivers and lakes are marked traits of the formation in the late stage of the climate, which was dry or had a short wet periods. This contradiction complicates the simulation of the climate of Mars.

In an effort to understand the origin of the Martian precipitation, scientists from the University of Chicago analyzed the photos from the global database, a fan-shaped alluvial deposits and deltas, as well as a digital terrain model created on the basis of images of the camera HiRISE, installed on Board the spacecraft Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. In total, researchers analyzed more than 200 ancient Martian riverbeds, affecting more than a billion years. Scientists have scale sizes of the channels of ancient rivers of Mars, using them as an indirect measure of the formation water flows in the past, and then compared with the rivers of the Earth from large database of rivers and water basins of the United States. The researchers also calculated the intensity of the flow of rivers using several methods, including size analysis of river channels. In river basins, which have the largest amount of data, rivers of Mars was about two times wider than the Earth. And between 3.6 and 1 billion years, and probably even after 1 billion years ago, the climate was periodically become wet then the water flow would be from 3 to 20 kilograms per square meter.

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