Abstract

Numerical simulations and geologic studies suggest that high thermal anomalies beneath, within, and above thermally insulating layers of buried hydrated salts and gas hydrates could have triggered and sustained hydrologic processes on Mars, producing or modifying chaotic terrains, debris flows, gullies, and ice-creep features. These simulations and geologic examples suggest that thick hydrate deposits may sustain such geothermal anomalies, shallow ground-water tables, and hydrogeologic activity for eons. The proposed mechanism may operate and be self-reinforcing even in today's cold Martian climate without elevated heat flux.

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