A deep groundwater origin for recurring slope lineae on Mars

Abotalib Z. Abotalib, Essam Heggy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

The recurring slope lineae on Mars have been hypothesized to originate from snow melting, deliquescence, dry flow or shallow groundwater. Except for the dry flow origin, these hypotheses imply the presence of surficial or near-surface volatiles, placing the exploration and characterization of potential habitable environments within the reach of existing technology. Here we present observations from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment, heat-flow modelling and terrestrial analogues, which indicate that the source of recurring slope lineae could be natural discharge along geological structures from briny aquifers within the cryosphere, at depths of approximately 750 m. Spatial correlation between recurring slope lineae source regions and multi-scale fractures (such as joints and faults) in the southern mid-latitudes and in Valles Marineris suggests that recurring slope lineae preferably emanate from tectonic and impact-related fractures. We suggest that deep groundwater occasionally surfaces on Mars in present-day conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-241
Number of pages7
JournalNature Geoscience
Volume12
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2019

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Mars
groundwater
cryosphere
flow modeling
geological structure
heat flow
snow
melting
aquifer
tectonics
experiment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

Cite this

A deep groundwater origin for recurring slope lineae on Mars. / Abotalib, Abotalib Z.; Heggy, Essam.

In: Nature Geoscience, Vol. 12, No. 4, 01.04.2019, p. 235-241.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abotalib, Abotalib Z. ; Heggy, Essam. / A deep groundwater origin for recurring slope lineae on Mars. In: Nature Geoscience. 2019 ; Vol. 12, No. 4. pp. 235-241.
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