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Published October 1988 | public
Journal Article

HDO in the Martian Atmosphere: Implications for the Abundance of Crustal Water


The physical and chemical processes that lead to the preferential escape of hydrogen over deuterium in the Martian atmosphere are studied in detail using a one-dimensional photochemical model. Comparison of our theory with recent observations of HDO suggests that, averaged over the planet, Mars contains 0.2 m of crustal water that is exchangeable with the atmosphere. Our estimate is considerably lower than recent estimates of subsurface water on Mars based on geomorphological analysis of Viking images. The estimate can be reconciled if only a small fraction of crustal water can exchange with the atmosphere.

Additional Information

© 1988 Academic Press, Inc. Received December 7, 1987; revised February 29, 1988. We thank T. Owen for communicating to us observational results prior to publication. One of us (JPP) thanks the Planetary Science Faculty for their hospitality during his visit at the Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences at Caltech. This research was supported by NASA Grants NSG 7376 and NAGW-254 to the California Institute of Technology.

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