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This is an image showing evidence of Martian flooding.
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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.

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Martian Outflow Channels

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Results from Mars Pathfinder

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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

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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 is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA