A hydrologic routing model has been applied to the Noachian cratered highlands of Mars to establish the climatic conditions required to maintain exit breached lakes on early Mars and the likely fraction of the upland surface that would have hosted lakes whether they overflowed or not. The climatic conditions were expressed as a ratio of net evaporative loss from lakes to the surface runoff from uplands (the “X ratio”). Simulations were conducted using 16 different X ratios. The lake area, volume, and number of overflowing lakes decrease as climate becomes drier (larger X ratio). The modal frequency of the X ratio for the overflow of highland basins with eroded exit breaches was 5.0, which is comparable to that of the Great Basin region in the western United States during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM). This indicates that lakes on early Mars were likely to have been at least as extensive as those in the Great Basin region during the LGM.
Journal of Geophysical Research (Planets)
- Pub Date:
- April 2011
- Planetary Sciences: Solid Surface Planets: Hydrology and fluvial processes;
- Hydrology: Geomorphology: general (1625);
- Hydrology: Hydrological cycles and budgets (1218;