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Scientists have identified 24 ancient lakes on Mars that once overflowed and burst through their walls, forming steep-sided canyons — and NASA's Mars 2020 rover will explore the neighborhood of one of these paleolakes, looking for traces of ancient life.
Jezero Crater is one of two dozen sites that a team of geologists examined for signs of how canyons formed: by massive individual flooding events or by slower flows over longer periods of time. Their findings suggest that for the chosen canyons, the former occurred, with a sudden flood rapidly carving canyons across the Martian surface.
Team - Conclusion - Relationship - Canyon - Measurements
The team came to that conclusion by looking at the relationship between the canyon measurements and the crater rims that once enclosed all that water. Because the canyon size increased in proportion to the size of the nearby lake, the team believes that all 24 lakes violently burst through their walls, carving the canyons in perhaps just a few weeks. If they hadn't seen such a correlation, they would have instead suspected that the canyons formed gradually from more gentle water flow.
And unlike geologic features here on Earth, lake beds and canyons remain etched...
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