Thursday, September 5, 2013

Bad Astronomy: Martian Flash Flood

Posted By on Thu, Sep 5, 2013 at 1:30 PM

Phil Plait's Bad Astronomy blog flags a photo from the UA's HiRISE camera aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter to note that it may have rained on Mars a long time ago:

This fan is on the inside of the rim of Mojave Crater, a 60-kilometer-wide (40-mile-wide) impact crater near the equator of Mars. The structure matches an Earthly alluvial fan almost perfectly. Larger boulders are heavier and can’t be carried as easily by floodwaters, so they tend to stop soon after the terrain levels out. Smaller rocks can travel farther, which appears to be the case here. The branches, the shape, the direction: Everything indicates a flash flood on Mars.

What could have caused it? This part surprised me: It may have been due to rain, water rain, that could occur after an asteroid or comet impact. For example, ice under the surface could be melted by the impact, which would then rain down over a large area. This would be a temporary and local event, but could spark flash floods something like rainstorms do here on Earth.

But after that, gravity and terrain did the rest, on Mars as it is on Earth. That’s actually rather astonishing: Given some basic and fundamental principles, you can actually figure out how weather and erosion processes work on another planet. And when you look at it, it actually kinda reminds you of home.

Comments

Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

Previously in the Range

More by Jim Nintzel

Staff Pick

Fanaux: Paintings by Hank Tusinski and Tim Mosman

Recent paintings and drawings by Mosman and Tusinski. Artist reception 5:30-7:30pm, Sept16 at Temple Gallery. Hours: 10-5,… More

@ Temple Gallery Fri., Sept. 16, 5:30-7:30 p.m. and Mondays-Fridays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Continues through Dec. 31 Temple of Music and Art. 330 S. Scott Ave.

» More Picks

Submit an Event Listing

Popular Content

  1. CM Punk and the UFC: Dishonorable and Disrespectful (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  2. 'TUSD Kids First' Amasses $35,000 War Chest From Large Donations (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  3. Quick Bites: We Scream for The Screamery—Now Downtown (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  4. The Weekly List: 28 Things To Do In Tucson In The Next 10 Days (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  5. Looking So Long At These Pictures Of You: Remembering Wendy Van Leuveren (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)

© 2016 Tucson Weekly | 7225 Mona Lisa Rd. Ste. 125, Tucson AZ 85741 | (520) 797-4384 | Powered by Foundation