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Waspie_Dwarf

Ice may explain Mars’ double-layer craters

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Big ice may explain Mars’ double-layer craters

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [brown University] — Geologists from Brown University have developed a promising new explanation for a mysterious type of crater on the surface on Mars.

Double-layered ejecta craters or DLEs, like other craters, are surrounded by debris excavated by an impactor. What makes DLEs different is that the debris forms two distinct layers — a large outer layer with a smaller inner layer sitting on top. These distinctive craters were first documented in data returned from the Viking missions to Mars in the 1970s, and scientists have been trying ever since to figure out how the double-layer pattern forms.

A new study by Brown graduate student David Kutai Weiss and James W. Head, professor of geological science, suggests that DLEs are the result of impacts onto a surface that was covered by a layer of glacial ice tens of meters thick.

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My understanding was that early on Mars was largely covered with water but something happened (maybe one of those global dust storms that we see sometimes on Mars) and it all froze, so that just a little under the surface there is a considerable layer of ice.

On another thread I raised the possibility, with global warming and the creation of vast deserts where we now have ice, plus increasing deforestation, we might be setting ourselves up for a similar global dust storm which, if it lasted long enough, would freeze our oceans.''

Of course this was dismissed and I am not informed enough to have been willing to argue, but I am not convinced by people just saying it's unlikely. From the way the dust storms on Mars generate and spread until the are global, I see no reason why not, once the ice sheets are all gone.

Of course Mars is smaller than the earth and further from the sun. These were both pointed out to me and I don't see where either is relevant. Obviously the smaller mass means more of the atmosphere has been lost, but you can have self-spreading dust storms in almost any pressure.

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My understanding was that early on Mars was largely covered with water but something happened (maybe one of those global dust storms that we see sometimes on Mars) and it all froze, so that just a little under the surface there is a considerable layer of ice.

This seems self contradictory to me. When Mars was largely covered with water global dust storms would not have been possible on the grounds that Mars was largely covered in water.

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Maybe the key word is "largely," not "entirely." A major desert at the poles would have been enough.

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