Speaking of Water

25 Nov 2017

Speaking of water, scientists discover evidence of recent water flow on Mars - see https://phys.org/print430640889.html ... and the scientists in question come from a number of universities and countries but the lead author is from the Open University in Milton Keynes. They claim they have found evidence of recent glacial meltwater in spite of the widely held opinion that the climate on Mars is too cold to melt ice. The evidence in question revolves around the identify of an esker (what they interpret as an esker and it does look very much like it is). Eskers are interesting geological formations - they can be quite huge. There is one in Buckingham (just behind the main shopping area) that has been cut open for extraction purposes (mainly sand). It is not open to the public as it is classed as dangerous (a steep drop into the quarry). The mainstream theory is that they form under ice sheets and the water flow seeps out of the end of the glacier. Other theories visualise the big eskers as evidence of rapid ice melt, pouring across the countryside adjacent to the ice sheet. In Canada there are lots of eskers. They occur fairly commonly in NW Europe including Ireland and lowland Britain. Finding an esker on Mars would be pretty significant.

The research is published in the Journal of Geophysical Research.