The paradoxes of the Late Hesperian Mars ocean

Abstract : The long-standing debate on the existence of ancient oceans on Mars has been recently revived by evidence for tsunami resurfacing events that date from the Late Hesperian geological era. It has been argued that these tsunami events originated from the impact of large meteorites on a deglaciated or nearly deglaciated ocean present in the northern hemisphere of Mars. Here we show that the presence of such a late ocean faces a paradox. If cold, the ocean should have been entirely frozen shortly after its formation, thus preventing the formation of tsunami events. If warm, the ice-free ocean should have produced fluvial erosion of Hesperian Mars terrains much more extensively than previously reported. To solve this apparent paradox, we suggest a list of possible tests and scenarios that could help to reconcile constraints from climate models with tsunami hypothesis. These scenarios could be tested in future dedicated studies.
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M. Turbet, F. Forget. The paradoxes of the Late Hesperian Mars ocean. Scientific Reports, Nature Publishing Group, 2019, 9 (1), pp.5717. ⟨10.1038/s41598-019-42030-2⟩. ⟨hal-02095548⟩

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