Skip to Main Content
Skip Nav Destination

Interior channels in Martian valley networks; discharge and runoff production

Rossman P. Irwin, Robert A. Craddock and Alan D. Howard
Interior channels in Martian valley networks; discharge and runoff production
Geology (Boulder) (June 2005) 33 (6): 489-492


The highland valley networks are perhaps the most compelling evidence for widespread fluvial activity on Mars >3.5 Ga. However, determining the hydrology of these features has been difficult owing to poor image resolution and the lack of available topographic data. New orbital imaging reveals 21 late-stage channels within valley networks, which we use to estimate formative discharges and to evaluate water supply mechanisms. We find that channel width and associated formative discharge are comparable to terrestrial valley networks of similar area and relief. For 15 narrow channels in basin-filling networks, likely episodic runoff production rates up to centimeters per day and first-order formative discharges of approximately 300-3000 m (super 3) /s are similar to terrestrial floods supplied by precipitation. Geothermal melting of ground ice would produce discharges approximately 100 times smaller per unit area and would require pulsed outbursts to form the channels. In four large valleys with few tributaries, wider channels may represent large subsurface outflows or paleolake overflows, as these four channels originate at breached basin divides and/or near source regions for the catastrophic outflow channels.

ISSN: 0091-7613
EISSN: 1943-2682
Serial Title: Geology (Boulder)
Serial Volume: 33
Serial Issue: 6
Title: Interior channels in Martian valley networks; discharge and runoff production
Affiliation: Smithsonian Institution, Center for Earth and Planetary Studies, Washington, DC, United States
Pages: 489-492
Published: 200506
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of America (GSA), Boulder, CO, United States
References: 34
Accession Number: 2005-037571
Categories: Extraterrestrial geology
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. 1 table
Secondary Affiliation: University of Virginia, USA, United States
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data supplied by the Geological Society of America, Boulder, CO, United States
Update Code: 200522
Close Modal

or Create an Account

Close Modal
Close Modal