New theory suggests Mars was once cold and wet
by Bob Yirka
Alberto Fairуn, an astrobiologist who works for both the SETI Institute (the group using radio telescopes to listen for extraterrestrial life) and NASA’s Ames research center, along with colleagues, has published a paper in the journal Nature Geoscience, in which they describe ancient Mars as cold and wet with a large northern hemispheric ocean whose edges were lined with glaciers.
Most recent thinking has suggested that Mars was either warm and wet or cold and dry; Fairén et al, however believe it was neither; this because of the absence of phyllosilicates (layers or sheets of parallel silicate) in the northern areas, compared to those in the south. They say this is likely due to an environment so cold that such minerals would not be able to move from the highlands to the lowlands due to glaciers. Also, they note the presence of moraines in northern parts of the planet, the rocky residue that is created on Earth by glaciers. Taken together, the researchers believe they have found credible evidence to suggest that Mars was indeed wet, but it wasn’t warm, at least in the northern parts of the planet.
If true, the ocean, in the Martian northern lowlands likely would have more resembled the North Atlantic between Norway and Greenland, than the tropics…
(read more: PhysOrg) (image: NASA)