American Geophysical Union | 2019 Feb 12
A study published last year in the journal Science suggested liquid water is present beneath the south polar ice cap of Mars. Now, a new study in the AGU journal Geophysical Research Letters argues there needs to be an underground source of heat for liquid water to exist underneath the polar ice cap.The Martian South Pole. A new study in Geophysical Research Letters argues
there needs to be an underground source of heat for liquid water to exist underneath
the polar ice cap. Credit: NASA
The new research does not take sides as to whether the liquid water exists. Instead, the authors suggest recent magmatic activity – the formation of a magma chamber within the past few hundred thousand years – must have occurred underneath the surface of Mars for there to be enough heat to produce liquid water underneath the kilometer-and-a-half thick ice cap. On the flip side, the study’s authors argue that if there was not recent magmatic activity underneath the surface of Mars, then there is not likely liquid water underneath the ice cap. ...
The potential presence of recent underground magmatic activity on Mars lends weight to the idea that Mars is an active planet, geologically speaking. That fact could give scientists a better understanding of how planets evolve over time.
The new study is intended to further the debate around the possibility of liquid water on Mars. The presence of liquid water on the Red Planet has implications for potentially finding life outside of Earth and could also serve as a resource for future human exploration of our neighboring planet. ...
Water on Mars, with a Grain of Salt: Local Heat Anomalies
Are Required for Basal Melting of Ice at the South Pole Today ~ Michael M. Sori, Ali M. Bramson
- Geophysical Research Letters (online 12 Feb 2019) DOI: 10.1029/2018GL080985