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Earth-like aqueous debris-flow activity on Mars at high orbital obliquity in the last million years

de Haas, T.; Hauber, E.; Conway, S. J.; van Steijn, H.; Johnsson, A. and Kleinhans, M. G. (2015). Earth-like aqueous debris-flow activity on Mars at high orbital obliquity in the last million years. Nature Communications, 6, article no. 7543.

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Liquid water is currently extremely rare on Mars, but was more abundant during periods of high obliquity in the last few millions of years. This is testified by the widespread occurrence of mid-latitude gullies: small catchment-fan systems. However, there are no direct estimates of the amount and frequency of liquid water generation during these periods. Here we determine debris-flow size, frequency and associated water volumes in Istok crater, and show that debris flows occurred at Earth-like frequencies during high-obliquity periods in the last million years on Mars. Results further imply that local accumulations of snow/ice within gullies were much more voluminous than currently predicted; melting must have yielded centimetres of liquid water in catchments; and recent aqueous activity in some mid-latitude craters was much more frequent than previously anticipated.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2015 Macmillan Publishers Limited.
ISSN: 2041-1723
Project Funding Details:
Funded Project NameProject IDFunding Body
Wet, moist, or dry? Using digital terrain models to determine the amount of water that has shaped the surfaces of Earth, Mars and the Moon. (SE-10-183-MB)RPG-397The Leverhulme Trust
Keywords: Earth sciences; geology; geophysics; planetary sciences
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) > Physical Sciences
Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)
Item ID: 44430
Depositing User: Susan Conway
Date Deposited: 25 Sep 2015 09:45
Last Modified: 27 Jun 2019 05:06
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