Friday, June 19, 2009

Evidence for shorelines on Mars announced

BOULDER, Colo., June 18 (UPI) -- A University of Colorado-Boulder research team says it has discovered the first definitive evidence of shorelines on Mars.

The scientists, led by researcher Gaetano Di Achille, said the finding is an indication of a deep, ancient lake, with implications for the discovery of past life on the Red Planet.
The scientists estimate the lake covered as much as 80 square miles and was up to 1,500 feet deep.

Di Achille said the shoreline evidence was found along a broad delta and included a series of alternating ridges and troughs thought to be surviving remnants of beach deposits.
"This is the first unambiguous evidence of shorelines on the surface of Mars," Di Achille said. "The identification of the shorelines and accompanying geological evidence allows us to calculate the size and volume of the lake, which appears to have formed about 3.4 billion years ago."

The study that included researcher Mindi Searls and Assistant Professor Brian Hynek appeared in the online edition of the journal Geophysical Research Letters.