Astronomers: the water flowed on the surface of Mars in the age of the dinosaurs

© NASA / JPL-Caltech/Mny a ravine in the center of the photo – trace of the movement of melt water on the surface of Mars. The probe MROAstronomers: the water flowed on the surface of Mars in the age of the dinosaurs© NASA / JPL-Caltech/MSS

. Planetary scientists found in the Northern hemisphere of Mars large deposits of ice and traces of flows of melt water moving over the surface relatively recently, in the heyday of the dinosaurs on Earth, according to a paper published in JGR: Planets.

«We have long thought that the middle latitudes of Mars is too cold for there could be formed the flows – the average temperature there does not exceed 55 degrees Celsius below zero. Our observations show that the underground volcanic activity and the collision of glaciers could produce enough heat in the recent past to melt some of them,» says Frances butcher (Frances Butcher) from the Open University in Milton Keynes.

In recent years scientists have found many hints that on the surface of Mars in ancient times there were rivers, lakes and entire oceans of water, which contained almost the same amount of liquid, like our Arctic ocean. On the other hand, some planetary scientists believe that even in the ancient era of Mars might be too cold for the continued existence of the oceans and its water could be in liquid state only after the eruptions.

The discovery of traces of a powerful ocean tsunami on Mars, as well as some other data for its Geology has led many scientists to believe that liquid water could exist on Mars, and only sporadically, when Mars fall of large meteorites or when the «Wake up» his volcanoes. Streams of melt water could break through the giant channels on the surface of Mars and to form temporary oceans and lakes not freezing hundreds of thousands and millions of years.

Butcher and his colleagues found that such episodes of ice melting could occur on Mars recently, about 110 million years ago by studying the images of temperate latitudes in the Northern hemisphere of the planet obtained with the help of the cameras of the probe MRO.

The glaciers of the Earth and Mars, as the researchers note, is not standing still and are constantly moving down from the mountains or the plains, retreating and advancing with increasing or decreasing temperatures. These ice movements do not go unnoticed to the surface of planets — there are very specific landforms, such as fjords, moraine ridges, RAM’s heads, drumlins, and other objects, clearly showing that here there was once a glacier.

Analyzing images with the MRO, the team of butcher tried to find a similar landforms located near the modern Martian glaciers. Their neighborhood, as scientists hoped, would help them to understand how fast moving ice of Mars today, and did a large-scale retreat and advance of ice caps in the recent and distant past.

On the plains of Tempe, located to the North of the volcanic plateau of Tharsis, the NASA probe failed to find the so-called Uzzah is quite low and very long hills, similar in shape to train trees.

Uzzah, in contrast to many other glacial landforms are not formed by the movement of themselves of ice and flows of meltwater that occur on the border between the foot of the glacier and the ground and make it narrow, but long channels with a length of several tens of kilometers.

That part of the plains of Tempe where you can find eskers and associated glacier was formed around 150-110 million years ago. This means that the flows of «real» water flowed on the surface of the red planet in the very recent past, when Mars had already cooled down and losing almost its entire atmosphere.

That could melt the ice and force them to retreat? Scientists believe that the source of heat in this case acted as subglacial volcanoes beneath the plain the Pace is geological fault, which could produce a large amount of heat and energy in the past.

These eskers and adjacent glaciers, how do you think butcher and his colleagues, can become one of the most interesting places for building future bases and colonies for several reasons. Here not only preserved large reserves of water, but the glacier could reveal potential traces of Martian life existed on the planet’s surface in the distant past.