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

Today | Tue | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun
Burlesque Fitness

Burlesque Fitness @ Floor Polish

Mondays, Wednesdays, 4:30-5:30 p.m.

All of today's events | Staff Picks

Staff Pick

James G. Davis (1931-2016): Down at the Tower Bar, A Retrospective

Celebrating the career of Tucson artist James G. Davis with a selection of paintings and prints made… More

@ Etherton Gallery Sat., Sept. 9, 7-10 p.m. and Tuesdays-Saturdays, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Continues through Nov. 11 135 S. Sixth Ave.

» More Picks

Submit an Event Listing

Popular Content

  1. 9th Annual Pink Hard Hat Campaign (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  2. Results-Based Funding: The Transition From Test Scores To School Grades (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  3. Better Late Than Never: 1968 Film Makes World Premiere (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  4. The Weekly List: 24 Things To Do In Tucson This Week (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  5. The Best Way To Get Results-Based Funding Is To Be Well-Off and White (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)

© 2017 Tucson Weekly | 7225 Mona Lisa Rd. Ste. 125, Tucson AZ 85741 | (520) 797-4384 | Powered by Foundation