The University of Arizona

Layered ejecta craters and the early water/ice aquifer on Mars

V. R. OBERBECK

Abstract


A model for emplacement of deposits of impact craters is presented that explains the size range of Martian layered ejecta craters between 5 km and 60 km in diameter in the low and middle latitudes. The impact model provides estimates of the water content of crater deposits relative to volatile content in the aquifer of Mars. These estimates together with the amount of water required to initiate fluid flow in terrestrial debris flows provide an estimate of 21% by volume (7.6 x  10^7 km^3) of water/ice that was stored between 0.27 and 2.5 km depth in the crust of Mars during Hesperian and Amazonian time. This would have been sufficient to supply the water for an ocean in the northern lowlands of Mars. The existence of fluidized craters smaller than 5 km diameter in some places on Mars suggests that volatiles were present locally at depths less than 0.27 km. Deposits of Martian craters may be ideal sites for searches for fossils of early organisms that may have existed in the water table if life originated on Mars.

Keywords


Mars;Fluidized;Post-impact deposits;Volatiles

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