Rivers may have existed on Mars for more than 100,000 years

A researcher team discovers sedimentary rocks in the data collected by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.


NSFW    UTRECHT, THE NETHERLANDS — Scientists believe water may have run in rivers on ancient Mars 3.7 billion years ago, according to a paper published in Nature Communications.

Researchers speculate that the system these rivers formed existed for more than 100,000 years in Mars's geological history.

Using data gathered by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, scientists surveyed the Hellas Basin and discovered signs on a 200-meter-tall cliff that suggests the region used to support a river system.

Writing in a news release, the team says the extremely high-resolution image from the orbiter's camera allowed them to read the cliff face and see sedimentary rocks that one would find on riverbanks.

According to the researchers, these ancient rivers probably changed their gullies and left behind sandbanks like certain rivers on Earth, such as the Rhine in Germany and rivers in Northern Italy.
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