Sonntag, 18. Mai 2008

Is Mars (geomorphological speaking) alive?

The planet Mars, a lifeless desert, frozen for eternity and geomorphological death since millions of years. But a new imagines of the "Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO)" showed scientists of the Brown University of Rhode Island and the MIT in Boston a surprise, and changed how we see this planet.
Possible glacial deposits in Arabia Terra, Mars.

The space probes of the last years showed that Mars possess lots of water, frozen in the underground of high latitudines and trapped in the polar caps, but on the equator it was tought that no ice existed in the past millions years. But the new high resolution photos shows that was seems to be the remains of gigant glaciers in Arabia Terra. The reserach group believes to have discovered signs of trim-lines on the walls of the valleys on Mars,only 100 millions of years old - for the geological timeline of Mars just yesterday. The glacier after some calculations reached a thickness of 900m, and maybe the observed deposits contain even today some ice.

Possible trim-lines and glacial deposits?
The researches think that Mars passes in cyclic periods extended ice-ages, that maybe are triggered by the strong inclined rotation axis of the planet (25,19°), similar to Earth, but more stronger and with longer periodicity.

HAUBER; VAN GASSELT; CHAPMAN; NEUKUM (2008): Geomorphic evidence for former lobate debris aprons at low latitudes on Mars: Indicators of the Martian paleoclimate. Journal of Geophysical Research, VOL. 113, E02007
DAMBECK (2008): Geologen staunen über Spuren gigantischer Gletscher. Der Spiegel, 28.04.2008

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