Martian Crater May Have Contained Lake Fed by Underground Water

Posted on January 24, 2013

McLaughlin Crate Groundwater Fed Lake

NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) looked down on the floor of McLaughlin Crater, a 57 mile diameter and 1.4 mile deep crater on Mars. The crater appears to have once been a groundwater-fed lake. It has flat, layered rocks at its bottom, which contain carbonate and clay minerals that form when water is present.

Joseph Michalski, lead author of the paper, said in a release, "Taken together, the observations in McLaughlin Crater provide the best evidence for carbonate forming within a lake environment instead of being washed into a crater from outside."

The findings are published here in Sunday's online edition of Nature Geoscience.

Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

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