At the present time the majority of water on Mars is firmly tucked away in its ice caps, yet once it was in abundance on this planet, and now new research suggests that overflowing lakes may have carved the planet's dramatic canyons.
As Phys.org reports, billions of years ago water would have once gushed through enormous rivers on Mars that emptied themselves into craters which eventually became vast seas and lakes.
Now new research conducted by the University of Texas at Austin has evidence which shows that sometimes these crater lakes themselves became so filled with water that the swelling lakes ended up overflowing out of their basins which would have created floods that were large enough that they ended up creating the planet's canyons. In fact, it is even believed that some of these floods on Mars would have been of such great intensity that canyons may have been formed in as little as a few weeks.
The new study's lead author Tim Goudge, who is a postdoctoral research at the UT Jackson School of Geosciences, explained that his new research reveals geological activities such as flooding may have had a much greater impact than plate tectonics when it came to forming the features we now see on Mars today.
"These breached lakes are fairly common and some of them are quite large, some as large as the Caspian Sea. So we think this style of catastrophic overflow flooding and rapid incision of outlet canyons was probably quite important on early Mars' surface."