36th DPS Meeting, 8-12 November 2004
Session 45 Mars Surface and Water II
Oral, Friday, November 12, 2004, 1:30-3:00pm, Lewis

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[45.07] The Impossible Dream ~ Martian Shorelines

E. R. Kraal, E. A. Asphaug (UCSC), R. D. Lorenz (LPL)

Shorelines, wave cut benches, and terraces frequently identified in Martian imagery have been used to imply open water on the surface of Mars. Open water has profound climate and exobiology implications. To understand Martian climate history, it is vital to understand if these features do indeed indicate stable liquid water on the surface.

Here we present the results of a quantitative study of the wave energy available in theoretical open water basins on Mars and conduct forward, 2-D modeling of shoreline features formed by the wave energy. Our results indicate that it is extremely difficult to form geomorphic features such as terraces that could be preserved through time. If indeed the identification of terraces is correct, these results force us to reconsider the formation mechanism of these surface features as well as what they imply for the climate history of Mars. In addition, if open water did existed, the geomorphic signature would likely be extremely subtle.

We gratefully acknowledge funding from GSRP to Kraal and MFR to Asphaug and Kraal.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: ekraal@es.ucsc.edu

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 36 #4
© 2004. The American Astronomical Soceity.