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Evidence for paleolakes in Erythraea Fossa, Mars: Implications for an ancient hydrological cycle

Buhler, Peter B. and Fassett, Caleb I. and Head, James W., III and Lamb, Michael P. (2011) Evidence for paleolakes in Erythraea Fossa, Mars: Implications for an ancient hydrological cycle. Icarus, 213 (1). pp. 104-115. ISSN 0019-1035.

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There is now widespread agreement that the surface of Mars underwent some degree of fluvial modification, but there is not yet full understanding of its surface hydrological cycle and the nature of standing bodies of water, rivers, and precipitation that affected its surface. In this paper we explore Erythraea Fossa (31.5 W, 27.3 S), a graben adjacent to Holden crater, which exhibits strong evidence that it once housed a chain of three lakes, had overland water flow, and was subject to precipitation. The inlet valley, outlet valley, and fan morphologies in the paleolakes are used to qualitatively discern the hydrologic history of the paleolakes; based on topography constraints, the three basins combined once held 56 km^3 of water. Depositional features within the basins that change with drainage area and nearby valleys that start near drainage divides indicate that the paleolakes may have been fed by precipitation driven runoff. This suggests the presence of an atmosphere, at least locally, that was capable of supporting a hydrological cycle.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Buhler, Peter B.0000-0002-5247-7148
Fassett, Caleb I.0000-0001-9155-3804
Head, James W., III0000-0003-2013-560X
Lamb, Michael P.0000-0002-5701-0504
Additional Information:© 2011 Elsevier Inc. Received 27 August 2010. Revised 4 February 2011. Accepted 1 March 2011. Available online 12 March 2011. Buhler thanks Brown University and the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship program (Richter Scholarship) at the California Institute of Technology for financial support for this research. JWH gratefully acknowledges financial support as part of the NASA/ESA participation in the Mars Express High-Resolution Stereo Camera Team under JPL Grant 1237163, and the Mars Data Analysis Program, MDAP Grant NNX09A146G. Reviews from Paul McKay and technical help from and informative discussions with Ailish Kress, Laura Kerber, Jennifer Griffes, and Debra Hurwitz are greatly appreciated. We also extend our gratitude to Jules Goldspiel and Rebecca Williams for their insightful reviews that increased the quality of this paper.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Brown UniversityUNSPECIFIED
Caltech Summer Undergrad Research Fellowships (SURF)UNSPECIFIED
European Space Agency (ESA)UNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:Mars; Mars, Surface; Mars, Climate; Geological processes
Issue or Number:1
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20110526-111454282
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Official Citation:Peter B. Buhler, Caleb I. Fassett, James W. Head III, Michael P. Lamb, Evidence for paleolakes in Erythraea Fossa, Mars: Implications for an ancient hydrological cycle, Icarus, Volume 213, Issue 1, May 2011, Pages 104-115, ISSN 0019-1035, DOI: 10.1016/j.icarus.2011.03.004. (
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:23809
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:26 May 2011 18:36
Last Modified:06 Nov 2019 20:26

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