Tuesday, February 26, 2008

How Groundwater Shaped Mars

Crusty, dusty and rusty describes the Mars of today.

Surface features of the Red Planet, however, hint at a watery past where torrents of groundwater carved out deep canyons, formed sweeping fans of sediment and cemented together huge fault lines.

"Groundwater probably played a major role in shaping many of the things we see on the Martian surface," said George Postma, a sedimentologist at UtrechtUniversity in the Netherlands.

Postma collaborated with Virginia Tech's Erin Kraal and others to recreate Mars' fan-like sediment deposits with a scale model. The group detailed their findings in a recent issue of the journal Nature.

A separate new study by Allan Treiman, a scientist at the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston, details the role of groundwater in depositing minerals in rocky Martian crevices.

NVDL: Is this a story about Mars or Earth in a million years? Can't quite make it out...

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