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Mars: History of Climate Change and Evolution of the Water Cycle

History of Climate Change and Evolution of the Water Cycle

Jim Head
Brown University

When: Friday, August 27, 2010, 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Join us for coffee beginning at 10:00 a.m.
Where: Seminar Conference Room, 10100 Burnet Road, Bldg 196-ROC, Austin, Texas 78758
Host: Jack Holt, UTIG
image from Jim Head's talk

Most of the water that has been detected on Mars currently resides in the polar caps and in pore space in high latitude regolith. It is known, however, that Mars undergoes significant changes in its orbital parameters, obliquity and eccentricity; obliquity is predicted to have reached 85 degrees in the last several billion years. Such variations are predicted to mobilize polar water and cause it to migrate to more stable locations at lower latitudes. Recent spacecraft exploration of Mars has provided a variety of data permitting the analysis of the distribution of ancient ice-related deposits at non-polar latitudes. In this talk, the search for and dating of these deposits will be discussed, and the implications for the climate history will be outlined, including the transition from a vertically integrated to a horizontally stratified hydrologic system.