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Extensive Noachian fluvial systems in Arabia Terra: Implications for early Martian climate

Davis, J.M.; Balme, M.; Grindrod, P.M.; Williams, R.M.E. and Gupta, S. (2016). Extensive Noachian fluvial systems in Arabia Terra: Implications for early Martian climate. Geology, 44(10) pp. 847–850.

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Valley networks are some of the strongest lines of evidence for extensive fluvial activity on early (Noachian; >3.7 Ga) Mars. However, their purported absence on certain ancient terrains, such as Arabia Terra, is at variance with patterns of precipitation as predicted by "warm and wet" climate models. This disagreement has contributed to the development of an alternative "icy highlands" scenario, whereby valley networks were formed by the melting of highland ice sheets. Here, we show through regional mapping that Arabia Terra shows evidence for extensive networks of sinuous ridges. We interpret these ridge features as inverted fluvial channels that formed in the Noachian, before being subject to burial and exhumation. The inverted channels developed on extensive aggrading flood plains. As the inverted channels are both sourced in, and traverse across, Arabia Terra, their formation is inconsistent with discrete, localized sources of water, such as meltwater from highland ice sheets. Our results are instead more consistent with an early Mars that supported widespread precipitation and runoff.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2016 The Authors
ISSN: 0091-7613
Project Funding Details:
Funded Project NameProject IDFunding Body
A UK consortium to study ExoMars Rover landing sitesST/L00643X/1Uk Space Agency
Astronomy and Planetary Sciences at the Open UniversityST/L000776/1STFC (Science & Technology Facilities Council)
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) > Physical Sciences
Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)
Item ID: 47270
Depositing User: Matthew Balme
Date Deposited: 08 Sep 2016 12:59
Last Modified: 01 Jun 2019 02:21
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