facebook
twitter
rss
account
search
search
 

Climate change may explain craters on Mars

Sept. 17, 2008 at 1:57 PM   |   Comments

PROVIDENCE, R.I., Sept. 17 (UPI) -- U.S. scientists say they have determined so-called pedestal craters, a subclass of impact craters unique to Mars, might have resulted from climate changes.

The researchers, led by Seth Kadish and James Head from Brown University, said pedestal craters are characterized by a crater perched near the center of a pedestal -- a mesa or plateau -- that's surrounded by a roughly circular scarp rising from tens to more than 328 feet above the surrounding terrain.

Kadish and his team analyzed 2,696 pedestal craters on Mars at middle and low latitudes and discovered several had pits in their marginal scarps, similar to sublimation depressions seen on Earth and elsewhere on Mars. The pits, the scientists said, suggest pedestals formed from impacts into a volatile-rich substrate.

"Sublimation of the intervening volatiles then lowered the elevation of the surrounding terrain, except where inhibited by the impact-hardened surfaces, yielding perched pedestals," the researchers said.

From that, the scientists posit pedestal craters represent the armored remnants of an extensive, ice-rich climate-related deposit that existed during a substantial part of the recent past.

The research that included Nadine Barlow of Northern Arizona University and David Marchant of Boston University appears in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

Topics: James Head
© 2008 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Most Popular
1
Perth's first iPhone buyer immediately drops brand new phone on live TV Perth's first iPhone buyer immediately drops brand new phone on live TV
2
Android phones to join iPhone in saying no to the police Android phones to join iPhone in saying no to the police
3
Report: Facebook Messenger app is loaded with spyware Report: Facebook Messenger app is loaded with spyware
4
Next-generation space suits will be like second skin Next-generation space suits will be like second skin
5
'Finding Nemo' has some basis in science... some 'Finding Nemo' has some basis in science... some
Trending News
Video
x
Feedback