Tharsis-triggered Flood Inundations of the Lowlands of MarsThroughout the recorded history of Mars, liquid water has distinctly shaped its landscape, including the prominent circum-Chryse and the northwestern slope valleys outflow channel systems , and the extremely flat northern plains topography at the distal reaches of these outflow channel systems.Basing on the ideas of episodic greenhouse atmosphere and water stability on the lowlands of Mars , a conceptual scheme for water evolution and associated geomorphologic features on the northern plains can be proposed. This model highlights Tharsis-triggered flood inundations and their direct impact on shaping the northern plains, as well as making possible the existence of fossil and/or extant life.Possible biologic evolution throughout the resulting different climatic and hydrologic conditions would account for very distinct metabolic pathways for hypothesized organisms capable of surviving and perhaps evolving in each aqueous environment, those that existed in the dry and cold periods between the flood inundations, and those organisms that could survive both extremes. Terrestrial microbiota, chemolithotrophic and heterotrophic bacteria, provide exciting analogues for such potential extremophile existence in Mars, especially where long-lived, magmatic-driven hydrothermal activity is indicated .
Fairen, Alberto G. (Universidad Autonoma de Madrid Cantoblanco, Spain)
Dohm, James M. (Arizona Univ. Tucson, AZ, United States)
Baker, Victor R. (Arizona Univ. Tucson, AZ, United States)
dePablo, Miguel A. (Universidad Complutense Madrid, Spain)