Journal Highlights

Scientists discover evidence of recent water flows on Mars

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Planetary scientists have discovered a rare ‘esker’ on Mars – a ridge of sediment deposited by meltwater flowing beneath a glacier in the relatively recent past (about 110 million years ago), despite cold climates.

With average temperatures on Mars of -55°C, it is widely thought that glaciers in the mid-latitudes – between the equator and the poles – are too cold to have produced meltwater. However, new research by the Open University (OU), in collaboration with University College Dublin, the University of Cambridge, and the University of Nantes*, suggests that, due to underground volcanic activity and heat generated by ice movements, the temperature beneath this specific mid-latitude glacier did rise enough to cause the ice to melt.

This meltwater then formed a tunnel, which filled with sediment and was left behind as a ridge, known as an esker, as the glacier retreated…More