Quantitative Assessments of the Martian Hydrosphere

Research areas:
Year:
2013
Authors:
  • Jeremie Lasue
  • Nicolas Mangold
  • Ernst Hauber
  • Steve Clifford
  • William Feldman
  • Olivier Gasnault
  • Cyril Grima
  • Sylvestre Maurice
  • Olivier Mousis
Journal:
SPACE SCIENCE REVIEWS
Volume:
174
Number:
1-4
Pages:
155-212
Month:
January
ISSN:
0038-6308
Abstract:
In this paper, we review current estimates of the global water inventory
of Mars, potential loss mechanisms, the thermophysical characteristics
of the different reservoirs that water may be currently stored in, and
assess how the planet's hydrosphere and cryosphere evolved with time.
First, we summarize the water inventory quantified from geological
analyses of surface features related to both liquid water erosion, and
ice-related landscapes. They indicate that, throughout most of Martian
geologic history (and possibly continuing through to the present day),
water was present to substantial depths, with a total inventory ranging
from several 100 to as much as 1000 m Global Equivalent Layer (GEL). We
then review the most recent estimates of water content based on
subsurface detection by orbital and landed instruments, including deep
penetrating radars such as SHARAD and MARSIS. We show that the total
amount of water measured so far is about 30 m GEL, although a far larger
amount of water may be stored below the sounding depths of currently
operational instruments. Finally, a global picture of the current state
of the subsurface water reservoirs and their evolution is discussed.