Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting nature.com. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Ancient oceans, ice sheets and the hydrological cycle on Mars

An Erratum to this article was published on 07 November 1991

Abstract

A variety of anomalous geomorphological features on Mars can be explained by a conceptual scheme involving episodic ocean and ice-sheet formation. The formation of valley networks early in Mars' history is evidence for a long-term hydrological cycle, which may have been associated with the existence of a persistent ocean. Cataclysmic flooding, triggered by extensive Tharsis volcanism, subsequently led to repeated ocean formation and then dissipation on the northern plains, and associated glaciation in the southern highlands until relatively late in martian history.

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

from$8.99

All prices are NET prices.

References

  1. 1

    Baker, V. R. The Channels of Mars (University of Texas Press, Austin, 1982).

    Google Scholar 

  2. 2

    Mars Channel Working Group. Geol. Soc. Am. Bull. 94, 1035–1054 (1983).

  3. 3

    Carr, M. H. & Schaber, G. G. J. geophys. Res. 82, 4039–4054 (1977).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  4. 4

    Squyres, S. W. J. geophys. Res. 84, 8087–8096 (1979).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  5. 5

    Lucchitta, B. K. Icarus 45, 264–303 (1981).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  6. 6

    Rossbacher, L. A. & Judson, S. Icarus 45, 39–59 (1981).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  7. 7

    Nedel, S. S., Squyres, S. W. & Anderson, D. W. Icarus 70, 409–441 (1987).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  8. 8

    Squyres, S. W. Icarus 79, 229–288 (1989).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  9. 9

    Chapman, C. R. & Jones, K. L. Rev. Earth planet Sci. 5, 515–540 (1977).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  10. 10

    Lucchitta, B. K. J. geophys. Res. 87, 9951–9973 (1982).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  11. 11

    Baker, V. R. & Milton, D. J. Icarus 23, 27–41 (1974).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  12. 12

    Carr, M. H. J. geophys. Res. 84, 2995–3007 (1979).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  13. 13

    Jöns, H. P. 17th Lunar planet. Sci. Conf. 404–405 (Lunar and Planetary Institute, Houston, 1985).

  14. 14

    Lucchitta, B. K. 18th Lunar planet. Sci. Conf. 498–499 (Lunar and Planetary Institute, Houston, 1986).

  15. 15

    Scott, D. H. & Chapman, M. G. Proc. Lunar planet. Sci. 21, (eds Ryder G & Sharpton V. L.) 669–677 Lunar and Planetary Institute, (1991).

    Google Scholar 

  16. 16

    Lucchitta, B. K., Ferguson, H. M. & Summers, C. A. NASA Tech. Memo. 88383, 450–453 (National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Washington D C, 1985).

  17. 17

    Parker, T. J., Saunders, R. S. & Schneeberger, D. M. Icarus 82, 111–145 (1989).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  18. 18

    Scott, D. H. & Tanaka, K. L. US Geol. Surv. Geologic Series Map 1-1802-A, scale 1:15,000,000 (US Geological Survey, Denver, 1986).

  19. 19

    Strom, R. G., Croft, S. K. & Barlow, N. G. Mars (University of Arizona Press, in the press).

  20. 20

    Kargel, J. S. & Strom, R. G. 21st Lunar planet. Sci. Conf. 597–598 (Lunar and Planetary Institute, Houston, 1990).

  21. 21

    Kargel, J. S. & Strom, R. G. Science (submitted).

  22. 22

    Arvidson, R. E., Guiness, E. A. & Lee, S. W. Nature 278, 533–535 (1979).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  23. 23

    Carr, M. H. & Clow, G. D. Icarus 48, 91–117 (1981).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  24. 24

    Baker, V. R. & Partridge, J. B. J. geophys. Res. 91, 3561–3572 (1986).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  25. 25

    Pieri, D. C., Science 210, 895–897 (1980).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  26. 26

    Gulick, V. C. & Baker, V. R. J. geophys. Res. 95, 14325–14344 (1990).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  27. 27

    Howard, A. D. NASA Tech. Memo. 4210, 342–344 (National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Washington DC 1990).

  28. 28

    Goldspiell, U. & Squyres, S. W. Icarus S. W. Icarus 89, 392–410 (1991).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  29. 29

    Brakenridge, G. R., Newsom, H. E. & Baker, V. R. Geology 13, 859–862 (1985).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  30. 30

    Gulick, V. C., Marley, M. S. & Baker, V. R. 19th Lunar planet. Sci. Conf. 441–442 (Lunar and Planetary Institute, Houston, 1988).

  31. 31

    Baker, V. R., Kochel, R. C., Laity, J. E. & Howard, A. D. in Ground-wateg Geomorphology (eds Higgins, C. G. & Coates, D. R.) 235–266 (Spec. Pap. 252, Geological Society of America, Boulder, Colorado, 1990).

    Google Scholar 

  32. 32

    Pollack, J. B., Kasting, J. F., Richardson, S. M. & Poliakoff, K. Icarus 71, 203–224 (1987).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  33. 33

    Schaefer, M. W. J. geophys. Res. 95, 14291–14300 (1990).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  34. 34

    Grant, J. A. III Providence, Rhode Island, 1990).

  35. 35

    Gulick, V. C. & Baker, V. R. Nature 341, 514–516 (1989).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  36. 36

    Gulick, V. C., Marley, M. S., Baker, V. R. 22nd Lunar planet. Sci. Conf. 509–510 (Lunar and Planetary Institute, Houston, 1991).

  37. 37

    MacKinnon, D. J. & Tanaka, D. L. J. geophys. Res. 94, 17359–17370 (1989).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  38. 38

    Tanaka, K. L. & Chapman, M. G. J. geophys. Res. 95, 14315–14323 (1990).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  39. 39

    Tanaka, K. L. J. geophys. Res. 91, E139–E158 (1986).

    Google Scholar 

  40. 40

    Rotto, S. L. & Tanaka, K. L. 22nd Lunar planet. Sci. Conf. 1135–1136 (Lunar and Planetary Institute, Houston, 1991).

  41. 41

    Larson, R. L. Geology 19, 547–550 (1991).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  42. 42

    White, R. S. & McKenzie, D. P. J. geophys. Res. 94, 7685–7730 (1989).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  43. 43

    Robinson, M. S. & Tanaka, K. L. Geology 18, 902–905 (1990).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  44. 44

    US Geological Survey Topographic Maps of the Western, Eastern Equatorial and Polar Regions of Mars, Map 1-2030 (1989).

  45. 45

    Carr, M. H. Nature 326, 30–34 (1987).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  46. 46

    Fanale, F. P. & Cannon, W. A. J. geophys. Res. 84, 8404–8414 (1979).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  47. 47

    Bills, B. G. J. geophys. Res. 95, 14137–14153 (1990).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  48. 48

    Bottinga, Y. & Javoy, M. Bull. Volcanol. 53, 73–85 (1991).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  49. 49

    Milton, D. J. Science 183, 654–656 (1974).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  50. 50

    Linke, W. F. Solubilities: Inorganic and Metal-Organic Compounds A-lr, Vol. 1, 461 (D. Van Nostrand Co. Inc., Princeton, 1958).

    Google Scholar 

  51. 51

    Zent, A. P., Fanale, F. P., & Postawko, S. E. Icarus 72, 241–249 (1987).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  52. 52

    Schubert, G. & Spahn, T. J. geophys. Res. 95, 14095–14104 (1990).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  53. 53

    Hunten, D. M., Donahue, T. M., Walter, J. C. G. & Kasting, J. F. in Origin and Evolution of Planetary Atmospheres (eds. Atreya, S. K., Pollack, J. B & Matthews, M. S.) 386–422 (University of Arizona Press, Tucson, 1989).

    Google Scholar 

  54. 54

    Mouginis-Mark, P. J. Icarus 84, 362–373 (1990).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  55. 55

    Conant, J. B. Science and Common Sense (Yale University Press, 1951).

    Google Scholar 

  56. 56

    Sleep, N. H., Zahnle, K. J., Kasting, J. F. & Morowitz, H. J. Nature 342, 139–142 (1989).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  57. 57

    Schopf, S. W. & Walter, M. R. in Earth's Earliest Biosphere (ed. Schopf, S.W.) 214–239 (Princeton University Press, 1983).

    Google Scholar 

  58. 58

    Schidlowski, M. Nature 333, 313–318 (1988).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  59. 59

    McKay, C. P. Adv. Space Res. 6, 269–285 (1986).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  60. 60

    McKay, C. P. Icarus 91, 93–100 (1991).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Baker, V., Strom, R., Gulick, V. et al. Ancient oceans, ice sheets and the hydrological cycle on Mars. Nature 352, 589–594 (1991). https://doi.org/10.1038/352589a0

Download citation

Further reading

Comments

By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.

Search

Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing