Study reveals new way to reconstruct past climate on Mars

Sun, 15 May 2022 06:10:32 GMT
Space Daily

Melbourne, Australia (SPX) May 16, 2022 A study led by a Monash University geologist has provided...

A study led by a Monash University geologist has provided fresh evidence for when high rates of erosion occurred throughout the history of Mars.

The findings, published in Geology date when climate was far more erosive in Mars' past - with the implication that there were sustained periods of time when liquid water moved across the planet's surface.

Scientists have long been keen to understand how Mars went from a state potentially more like modern Earth, to the desolate inhospitable place it is today.

"If we want to know if there was life on Mars, we need to understand the sedimentary rock record," said lead study author Dr Andrew Gunn, from the Monash University School of Earth, Atmosphere and Environment.

"Our study determines the timing and rates of sediment erosion and accumulation over Mars' geologic history in a completely novel way, and for the first time quantifies a measure of the erodibility of each of the types of rocks we see on Mars' surface," he said.

"It is significant because we show that the abundance of sands blown by wind into craters on Mars' surface can be linked to the climate history of the planet, unlocking a new way to understand when in geologic time Mars may have been habitable."

On Earth and Mars there is a sedimentary cycle where surface rocks are slowly eroded into sediments, the sediments bury each other, new rocks are made, and the process continues.

On Earth the surface is recycled by tectonics, erasing the old sediments across most of the planet, but on Mars sediment accumulations on the surface are mostly preserved to the modern day.

Research Report:Accumulation of windblown sand in impact craters on Mars.

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