Tsunami waves extensively resurfaced the shorelines of an early Martian ocean
AuthorRodriguez, J. Alexis P.
Fairén, Alberto G.
Tanaka, Kenneth L.
Kargel, Jeffrey S.
Baker, Victor R.
AffiliationUniv Arizona, Dept Hydrol & Water Resources
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherNATURE PUBLISHING GROUP
CitationRodriguez, J. A. P. et al. Tsunami waves extensively resurfaced the shorelines of an early Martian ocean. Sci. Rep. 6 , 25106; doi: 10.1038/srep25106 (2016).
RightsThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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AbstractIt has been proposed that similar to 3.4 billion years ago an ocean fed by enormous catastrophic floods covered most of the Martian northern lowlands. However, a persistent problem with this hypothesis is the lack of definitive paleoshoreline features. Here, based on geomorphic and thermal image mapping in the circum-Chryse and northwestern Arabia Terra regions of the northern plains, in combination with numerical analyses, we show evidence for two enormous tsunami events possibly triggered by bolide impacts, resulting in craters similar to 30 km in diameter and occurring perhaps a few million years apart. The tsunamis produced widespread littoral landforms, including run-up water-ice-rich and bouldery lobes, which extended tens to hundreds of kilometers over gently sloping plains and boundary cratered highlands, as well as backwash channels where wave retreat occurred on highland-boundary surfaces. The ice-rich lobes formed in association with the younger tsunami, showing that their emplacement took place following a transition into a colder global climatic regime that occurred after the older tsunami event. We conclude that, on early Mars, tsunamis played a major role in generating and resurfacing coastal terrains.
VersionFinal published version
SponsorsFunding for JAPR was provided by NASA’s Planetary Geologic and Geophysics Program, NASA NPP and KAKENHI 25120006. KLT was also funded by NASA’s Planetary Geologic and Geophysics Program. AGF was supported by the Project “icyMARS”, funded by the European Research Council, Starting Grant No. 307496. TP was supported by a DFG Grant (PL613/2-1). VCG was funded by MRO HiRISE Co-Investigator funds. HM was funded by KAKENHI 25120006. Publications costs were covered by the Project “icyMARS”, funded by the European Research Council, Starting Grant No. 307496. We are thankful to Alexander Cox for his valuable editing.