Geophysical Research Letters

Dynamic river channels suggest a long-lived Noachian crater lake on Mars



[1] Recent images of the Noachian-age Holden Northeast Crater show spectacular meandering channels that form a complex 150 meter thick lacustrine river delta deposit confined to the northwest margin of the crater. We identify 11 major avulsion events in the topmost layer and suggest an avulsion frequency of a few hundred years. The meandering nature of the channels and numerous avulsions is incompatible with deposition on an alluvial fan and clearly reflects a complex history of multiple sustained flows. Assuming an average sedimentation rate of 1mm/year, we suggest that Holden NE Crater contained a lake that persisted for at least 150,000 years. Our analysis is incompatible with this feature being the result of a major bolide impact that would have released a catastrophic flood by groundwater sapping and supports the hypothesis that early Mars was both warmer and wetter during the Noachian.