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J. Alexis Palmero Rodriguez, research scientist at PSI, has been studying the Martian northern lowlands region, which contains extensive sedimentary deposits that resemble the abyssal plains of ’s ocean floors. It is also like the floors of other basins on Mars where oceans are thought to have developed.

The origin of these deposits and the formation of Martian lakes and seas are controversial. One theory is that there was a sudden release of large volumes of water and sediment from zones of apparent crustal collapse known as “chaotic terrains.” However, these zones of collapse are on the whole rare on Mars, while the plains deposits are widespread and common within large basin settings, Rodriguez said.

Citing evidence found in the planet’s northern plains south of Gemini Scopuli in Planum Boreum, Rodriguez proposes in an article published in Icarus that groundwater emerged through extensive and widespread fractures forming the floors of ancient continental-scale basins on Mars. This led to the formation of river systems, large-scale regional erosion, sedimentary deposition and water ponding.

But where did all that Martian water go?  To read the rest of the article, click here.