Lakes 3.7 billion years old discovered on Mars

(ORDO NEWS) — An international research team analyzed images of Mars taken by various orbiters and discovered previously unknown ancient lakes in the Arabia Terra region. According to scientists, their age reaches 3.7 billion years.

The researchers’ work is presented in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets and briefly described by Phys.org. Scientists studied images taken by the orbiters using cameras with high-resolution imaging. The northern hemisphere of Mars was subjected to analysis.

It is divided into two vast areas, which are markedly different from each other. If the north is dominated by lowlands, then the south is a high mountain region. At the junction of these areas is the region of Arabia Terra. It is believed to contain some of the oldest rocks on the Red Planet, dating back over 3.7 billion years.

Until recently, scientists have found practically no traces of ancient lakes in this region, while a lot of such traces have been found on the southern highlands. It is known that the lakes there were filled with ancient impact craters, formed as a result of the bombardment of Mars by large meteorites and asteroids.

And for the first time, astronomers discovered a trace of seven paleolakes at once on the territory of the Arabia Terra region.

They were aided by images and data from the CTX context camera, the HiRISE high-resolution imaging science experiment, and THEMIS thermal imaging system. Note that with the help of orbital images, the Martian area of ​​​​22 thousand square kilometers was analyzed.

Based on these images, the research team also created high-resolution maps and digital models. This allowed a deeper study of the geomorphology of the region and the identification and description of seven new paleolakes.

Interestingly, they are different from the ancient lakes that once filled impact craters. The latter had an almost regular round shape. And the shape of the newly discovered lakes is wrong.

This suggests that these reservoirs were formed in the conditions of the natural landscape of the Red Planet, they were filled due to the influx of surface waters. From them, in turn, flowed numerous streams that filled neighboring reservoirs.

As a result, a cascading chain of lakes was formed, which, according to scientists, existed about 3.7 billion years ago. However, only a laboratory study of sedimentary rocks will make it possible to clarify the age of paleolakes.

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