Knickpoints in Martian channels indicate past ocean levels
Duran, Sergio; Coulthard, Tom J.; Baynes, Edwin R C; Baynes, Edwin R.C.
Professor Thomas Coulthard T.Coulthard@hull.ac.uk
Professor of Physical Geography
Edwin R C Baynes
Edwin R.C. Baynes
On Mars, the presence of extensive networks of sinuous valleys and large channels provides evidence for a wetter and warmer environment where liquid water was more abundant than it is at present. We undertook an analysis of all major channel systems on Mars and detected sharp changes in elevation along the river long profiles associated with steep headwall theatre-like valleys and terraces left downstream by channel incision. These breaks in channel longitudinal slope, headwalls and terraces exhibit a striking resemblance with terrestrial fluvial features, commonly termed 'knickpoints'. On Earth, such knickpoints can be formed by more resistant bedrock or where changes in channel base-level have initiated erosion that migrates upstream (such as tectonic uplift or sea level change). We observed common elevations of Martian knickpoints in eleven separate channel systems draining into the Martian Northern lowlands. Numerical modeling showed that the common elevations of some of these knickpoints were not random. As the knickpoints are spread across the planet, we suggest that these Martian knickpoints were formed in response to a common base level or ocean level rather than local lithology. Thus, they potentially represent a record of past ocean levels and channel activity on Mars.
|Journal Article Type||Article|
|Publication Date||Oct 22, 2019|
|Publisher||Nature Publishing Group|
|Peer Reviewed||Peer Reviewed|
|APA6 Citation||Baynes, E. R., Duran, S., Coulthard, T. J., & Baynes, E. R. C. (2019). Knickpoints in Martian channels indicate past ocean levels. Scientific reports, 9(1), https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-51574-2|
|Keywords||Geomorphology; Hydrology; Inner planets|
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