A large paleolake basin at the head of Ma'adim Vallis, Mars

Rossman P. Irwin, Ted A. Maxwell, Alan D. Howard, Robert A. Craddock, David W. Leverington

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

114 Scopus citations

Abstract

At 8 to 15 kilometers wide, Ma'adim Vallis is one of the largest valleys in the martian highlands. Although a groundwater source was previously suggested, the channel originates at a spillway in the divide of a ∼3,000,000-square-kilometer closed drainage basin. The interior morphology of this source basin, including likely shoreline features following topographic contours, suggests that Ma'adim Vallis was created through catastrophic overflow of a ∼1,100,000-square-kilometer highland take. The size, constant levels, and interior morphology of three regional paleolake basins require a warmer paleo-climate and a long-term, recharged, stable highland water table more than ∼3.5 billion years ago.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2209-2212
Number of pages4
JournalScience
Volume296
Issue number5576
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 21 2002

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