This is an image showing evidence of Martian flooding.
Click on image for full size
Image from: NASA

Martian Floods

Separate from the Martian outflow channels, or the river valley networks, are large Martian lakes (600 km, or ~1000 miles across) which exhibit evidence of a periodic and catastrophic release of water in the form of floods. This evidence is found with an examination of the shorelines surrounding the lakes.

This evidence suggests the possibility of an equilibrium between the lakes and an aquifer lying close to the surface. As the lake level drops, water comes to it from the aquifer. Evaporation of water from the lake and recondensation close to the surrounding terrain would return water to the aquifer.

An analysis of the combined evidence from the Martian outflow channels, the river valley networks, and catastrophic flooding suggests two possibilities for the global Martian water cycle.

Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!

Our online store includes issues of NESTA's quarterly journal, The Earth Scientist, full of classroom activities on different topics in Earth and space science, ranging from seismology, rocks and minerals, oceanography, and Earth system science to astronomy!

Windows to the Universe Community

News

Opportunities

You might also be interested in:

Traveling Nitrogen Classroom Activity Kit

Check out our online store - minerals, fossils, books, activities, jewelry, and household items!...more

Martian Outflow Channels

The Martian surface exhibits a large number of large, tear-drop shaped outflow channels such as the one shown in this image. Most of these are found on the slopes of the Martian volcanoes. They seem to...more

Results from Mars Pathfinder

These are the findings of Mars Pathfinder. High Silica Rocks - a result from chemical analysis of the Martian rocks. suggestive of differentiated (evolved) rocks and minerals. helps establish that, like...more

Mars Express - Beagle 2 Lander

The European Space Agency (ESA) launched a mission to Mars called "Mars Express" in June of 2003. The Mars Express spacecraft has two parts: an orbiter that will circle Mars for at least one Martian year...more

Overview of the Mars Express Mission

The European Space Agency (ESA) launched a mission to Mars called "Mars Express" in June of 2003. The Mars Express spacecraft has two parts: an orbiter that will circle Mars for at least one Martian year...more

Mars Express Landing Site - Isidis Planitia

The European Space Agency (ESA) launched a mission to Mars called "Mars Express" in June of 2003. The Mars Express spacecraft has two parts: an orbiter that will circle Mars for at least one Martian year...more

Isidis Planitia

Isidis Planitia is flat plain within an ancient impact crater on the surface of Mars. Isidis Planitia is about 1500 km (930 miles) across. It is just north of the Martian equator near the center of the...more

The Climate of Mars

Unlike that of the Earth, the Martian climate is significantly influenced by the eccentricity of the Martian orbit. In spite of the significant influence the orbit plays on Martian climate over the years...more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF