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The inventory and distribution of water on Mars

Advances in Space Research

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DOI: 10.1016/0273-1177(87)90359-0

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Abstract

Terrain softening, fretted channels, debris flows, and closed depressions indicate that at least the upper 2 km of the cratered uplands at high latitudes (>30??) contain ice in amounts that exceed the porosity, estimated to be 10-20 percent. Theoretical studies, and lack of these features in the cratered uplands at low latitudes, suggest that the upper 1 km of the uplands at low latitudes is ice poor. However, valley networks indicate that water was present near the surface early in the planet's history, although in amounts smaller than at high latitudes. On the basis of these observations, the entire upper 1 km, planet-wide is estimated to have contained 75-125 meters of water at the end of heavy bombardment. From the volume of water needed to cut the circum-Chryse channels, and assuming uniform planet-wide distribution of water, the deep megaregolith is estimated to have contained at least 350 meters of water at the end of heavy bombardment, thereby giving a total minimum inventory of 425-475 meters planet-wide. Most of the water lost from the low latitude uplands by diffusion and in cutting the valley networks is now believed to be in the polar layered terrains. Most of the water involved in cutting the outflow channels is in the low-lying northern plains where a variety of features that have been attributed to ground ice is present. Since the end of heavy bombardment, a large fraction of the planet's surface has been overplated with water-poor volcanics, of which we have samples in the SNC meteorites. The younger volcanics have reacted extensively with the old volatile-rich basement. Part of the 10-20 bars of CO2 and 0.1 to 0.3 bars of N2 outgassed with the water was lost during heavy bombardment by impact erosion of the atmosphere and other processes. The remaining was fixed carbonates and nitrates and folded deep into the megaregolith during heavy bombardment. ?? 1987.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
The inventory and distribution of water on Mars
Series title:
Advances in Space Research
DOI:
10.1016/0273-1177(87)90359-0
Volume
7
Issue:
5
Year Published:
1987
Language:
English
Publisher:
Elsevier
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
First page:
85
Last page:
94
Number of Pages:
10