Journal Highlights

Modeling tsunami propagation and the emplacement of thumbprint terrain in an early Mars ocean

This paper investigates lobate deposits in Arabia Terra, Mars, speculated to be tsunami deposits associated with the existence of a former ocean. The authors compared the geomorphologic characteristics of the Martian deposits with terrestrial tsunami models, scaled to Mars, for three potential sea levels. The paleo-tsunami phenomena documented in this study (along with a complementary study by Rodriguez et al. (2016) in Nature: Scientific Reports) provide new, compelling evidence for the past existence of an immense water body, “Oceanus Borealis,” that existed over time scales of at least a few million years on the surface of early Mars. The ocean hypothesis, long controversial in the Mars science community, has immense implications for understanding the volatile inventory of Mars, its hydrologic and climatic evolution, and the potential for the origin of survival of life.