October 26, 2021

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‘Sudden and violent’ floods: Study reveals the tortuous past of Mars that shaped its surface

study Published in the magazine temper nature . revealed An unprecedented discovery on the surface of Mars: The red planet there was a great flood that caused the formation of its deepest channels.

Until now it was known about the existence of water On Mars And that it flowed freely on its surface about 3.5 billion years ago. However, scientists were not aware of its existence flash floods, violent Those that eroded the surface of Mars and caused the formation of these channels.

The targeted floods were caused by the flooding of lakes caused by it a crucial role in the formation of the ancient network of river valleys on Mars, caused a quarter of this erosion, and establishes the research he’s leading University of Austin (USA).

Tim Judge, lead author and researcher at this university, noted, “If we think about how sediment moved across the landscape on ancient Mars, the flooding in a lake would Really important process. It is an amazing result because, for a long time, It was considered a specific anomaly.”

Note that the activity from surface water It was responsible for the erosion of the world’s river valleys and the filling of its lakes during the period of the formation of the valley network that ended, Almost 4000 years ago.

Juan Carlos Bumen, astronomer and science coordinator independent university, explains that “after a general study of more than 200 valleys, it was concluded that they were formed by sudden and violent floods, rather than slow erosion caused by, say, a river or glaciers.”

The surface of Mars.

The study researchers pointed out that unlike what happens on Earth, where river erosion is usually a slow process, massive flooding on Mars due to the overflow of lakes formed in craters “It played a major role in shaping the surface of Mars. Carving deep cavities and moving large amounts of sediment.”

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This phenomenon was responsible for at least the rapid erosion 24% of the volume of valleys It was drilled on early Mars, although the overflow canyons in the lakes represented only a small part (about 3%) of the length of the entire valley.

According to the astronomer of the Autonomous University, this process will be completely different from what happened on Earth with the geological formation. “On Mars, the channels will be cut off by meteorite collisions, Generate craters that will eventually produce a new lake that overflows and leads to flooding. On the ground, instead, The pits are erased either by water erosion, as well as abundant volcanic activity. For this reason, on our planet there are fewer geological records of “drawn” lands. with floods like those seen in Martian landscapes.”

Chicxulub hole. Photo: flag

The authors conclude that these floods also subsequently affected the evolution of the Martian landscape in general, particularly in the crater-filled uplands.

Study is the first to Investigating how 262 lakes are broken on the red planet The surface of Mars as a whole. Experts reviewed a catalog of river valleys on Mars and classified it into two categories: those that began at the edge of a crater, suggesting that they arose during a flood caused by the rupture of a lake, and those that formed in another part of the crater. natural views. This indicates a more gradual formation over time.