Research Article

Evidence for Recent Groundwater Seepage and Surface Runoff on Mars

Science  30 Jun 2000:
Vol. 288, Issue 5475, pp. 2330-2335
DOI: 10.1126/science.288.5475.2330

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Abstract

Relatively young landforms on Mars, seen in high-resolution images acquired by the Mars Global Surveyor Mars Orbiter Camera since March 1999, suggest the presence of sources of liquid water at shallow depths beneath the martian surface. Found at middle and high martian latitudes (particularly in the southern hemisphere), gullies within the walls of a very small number of impact craters, south polar pits, and two of the larger martian valleys display geomorphic features that can be explained by processes associated with groundwater seepage and surface runoff. The relative youth of the landforms is indicated by the superposition of the gullies on otherwise geologically young surfaces and by the absence of superimposed landforms or cross-cutting features, including impact craters, small polygons, and eolian dunes. The limited size and geographic distribution of the features argue for constrained source reservoirs.

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