A case for ancient evaporite basins on Mars


  • Randall D. Forsythe,

  • James R. Zimbelman


Observations indicate that a Martian analog to the Earth's salt pans and saline lakes of arid regions may have existed in crater-basins during Mars' early (Noachian) epoch. Terraced and channelized crater-basins point to ponding of surface water as well as possible prolonged and evolving base levels. In addition, supportive (evaporite basin) analogs are offered for three other morphologic features of Martian crater-basins. An evaporite basin model for crater-basins on Mars has major implications for the mechanical, chemical, and even biological processes that potentially have operated in Mars' past, and represent a spectrum of potential mineral resources.