Water Existed on Mars Before and there’s no Question About it, Scientists

A new study has found that scientists have discovered signs of ancient water activity on Mars as evidence point in the now- dried up lake system. This discovery adds to the growing proof that Mars was once sufficient for life, as the writing on Nature World News show.

An old lake at Jezero crater, located near the planet’s equator, was first identified in 2005.

At present, researchers at Brown University are saying that the water that filled the crater was one of at least two separate periods of water activity in the region.

Scientists have no idea as to the length of time this particular lake system was active, but they do believe that it dried up approximately 3.5 to 3.8 billion years ago. Tim Goudge, leader of the research said, “We can say that this well-exposed location makes a strong case for at least two periods of water-related activity in Mars’ history that tells us something really interesting about how early this planet operated.”

These scientists also believe that the lake’s water supply came from two channels on the northern and western sides of the crater – which carried so much water that the overrun spilled into a large third channel.

This ancient lake system, dated billions of years back also deposited sedimentary elements in a delta-like deposit that contains traces of clay minerals – a clear sign of alteration by water.

Brown University researchers, nevertheless, wanted to learn exactly how those minerals were formed – an issue being debated until recently. Their theory is – the minerals could have been formed in the lake or elsewhere before being transported into the lake. In order to solve this problem, Goudge and his colleagues collected high-resolution orbital images from NASA’s CTX instrument, combining them with data from the Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM) aboard NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

Using this data, they put together a detailed geological and mineralogical map of the entire Jezero crater paleolake system.

The result: they found out that each of the sediment deposits has its own distinct mineral signature that matches with the signature of the watershed where it came from. Goudge said that it is a good indication that the minerals were formed in the watershed and were then transported into the lake. Moreover, when the minerals were formed and when they were transported into the lake, the deposit seem to have occurred completely at differing times.

The team’s mapping data illustrate that the watershed showed a younger layer of rock that sits on top of the hydrated minerals, while the crater’s inlet channels cut through that layer of younger rock. This clearly means that the water that carved the channels must have flowed well after the mineral layer has been formed.

“Its implication is that there were actually two periods of water-related activity that happened on Mars,” explained Goudge. The earlier episode formed the alteration of minerals in the watershed, then some time later the occurrence of the surface water activity that transported the minerals into the lake. At this site, those two events appear not to have been genetically related.”

This discovery could help reveal the history of water on Mars, which clearly was once much wetter than it is today.

 

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