Widespread surface weathering on early Mars: A case for a warmer and wetter climate

Research areas:
Year:
2015
Authors:
  • John Carter
  • Damien Loizeau
  • Nicolas Mangold
  • Francois Poulet
  • Jean-Pierre Bibring
Journal:
ICARUS
Volume:
248
Pages:
373-382
Month:
MAR 1
ISSN:
0019-1035
Abstract:
Early Mars (>3 Ga) underwent aqueous alteration as evidenced by fluvial/lacustrine morphologies and the recent discovery of widespread hydrous clays. Despite compelling evidence for diverse and localized aqueous environments, the possibility for sustained liquid water globally on the martian surface and over geological timescales is still highly debated. Instead, a durably cold and dry Mars scenario is often proposed. By studying specific Fe/Mg and Al-rich clay stratigraphies on Mars by means of a planetary scale orbital investigation, we present new evidence that Mars experienced an early era (>3.7 Ga) of widespread aqueous alteration consistent with surface weathering. (C) 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.