Recharge mechanism of near-equatorial hydrogen on Mars: Atmospheric redistribution or sub-surface aquifer

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Abstract

[1] The geographical distribution of water-equivalent-hydrogen (WEH) near the equator of Mars was compared with the topography and distribution of atmospheric water vapor to constrain possible recharge mechanisms of near-surface water (<1 m of the surface). Recharge through a subsurface conduit provided by an aquifer, although possible, seems less likely than recharge through the atmosphere. Although the spatial distribution of WEH does not correspond to the current distribution of water vapor in the atmosphere, several terrestrial analogs indicate that dynamics of atmospheric circulation during periods of higher obliquity prior to the present epoch can qualitatively account for the observed WEH distribution.

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