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Mystery solved - Mars once had oceans

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  • derhexer@aol.com
    URL to an article in Space.com _http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/070613_mars_oceans.html_ (http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/070613_mars_oceans.html)
    Message 1 of 2 , Jun 13, 2007
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      URL to an article in Space.com

      Robinson used this idea in his Red....Mar series, and John Varley used this
      in his In The Hall of The Martian Kings. Which other authors have used the
      idea of Martian oceans under the surface?

      First few paragraphs
      Since 1991, planetary scientists have floated the idea that Mars once
      harbored vast oceans that covered roughly one-third of the planet. Two long
      shore-like lips of rock in the planet's northern hemisphere were thought to be the
      best evidence, but experts argued that they were too "hilly" to describe the
      smooth edges of ancient oceans.
      The view just changed dramatically with a surprisingly simple breakthrough.
      The once-flat shorelines were disfigured by a massive toppling over of the
      planet, scientists announced today. The warping of the Martian rock has hidden
      clear evidence of _the oceans_
      erkeley) , which in any case have been gone for at least 2 billion years.
      "This really confirms that there was an ocean on Mars," said Mark Richards,
      a planetary scientist at the University of California at Berkeley and
      co-author of the study, which is detailed in the June 14 issue of the journal
      Twin shores
      Two major shorelines exist on Mars, each thousands of miles long--one
      remaining from the older Arabia Ocean, and another from the younger Deuteronilus
      Ocean, said study co-author Taylor Perron of UC Berkeley.
      "The Arabia would have contained two to three times the volume of water than
      in the ice that covers Antarctica," Perron told SPACE.com.
      Somewhere along the way to toppling over 50 degrees to the north, Mars
      probably lost some of _its water_
      (http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/mars_liquid_030821.html) , leaving the Deuteronilus Ocean's shoreline exposed. "The
      volume of water was too large to simply evaporate into space, so we think there
      is still some subterranean reservoirs on Mars," Perron said.
      The remaining sea would have been located in the same _lowland plain_
      ) as the Arabia Ocean, but almost 40 degrees to the north.
      Unstable spin
      As a planet spins, the heaviest things tend to shift towards the equator,
      where they are most stable. Earth, too, _has a bulge_
      (http://www.livescience.com/mysteries/061008_equator_gravity.html) at its equator. The volcanic
      Tharsis region of Mars, a vast raised area along Mars' equator, is evidence for
      how this works.
      "This is the reason why this discovery packs extra punch," Perron said. More
      than a billion years ago, he explained, something happened in the way mass
      was distributed on Mars to cause the imbalanced portion to shift toward the
      equator-and allow the vast shores of the Martian oceans to warp.
      "We found evidence of the path the shift would have to have occurred, and it
      matches with the deformation of the shorelines," Perron said."

      (no electrons were killed in sending this, though billions were horribly

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    • raybell_scot
      ... Depends what you mean by ocean - liquid or frozen? Loose water, or embedded in rock? Supposedly there is a huge ocean beneath China, but it s
      Message 2 of 2 , Jun 15, 2007
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        --- In sciencefictionclassics@yahoogroups.com, derhexer@... wrote:
        >Which other authors have used the
        > idea of Martian oceans under the surface?

        Depends what you mean by "ocean" - liquid or frozen? "Loose" water, or
        embedded in rock? Supposedly there is a huge ocean beneath China, but
        it's intermixed with the rock - same volume as the Arctic Ocean, and
        has seismic effects. Caused by sublimation from the Pacific.
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