[MIS07-06] Liquid Groundwater on Mars Across Time & Implications for Subsurface Habitability
Keywords:Mars, Hydrology, Evolution, Habitability
We show results of 4D (three dimensions in space and across time) interior models of Mars that self-consistently compute the subsurface thermal profile, groundwater stability depth, porosity, and permeability as a function of location and planet age across the last 4.5 billion years. The two models used are (A) a 3D spherical full mantle convection [Plesa et al., JGR, 2016] and (B) a preliminary parameterized thermal evolution model both coupled to a 3D crustal model that is compatible with today’s gravity and topography data. The spherical full mantle convection model explicitly considers both lateral variations of the crustal and mantle heat flow contributions, which can lead to regional perturbations that can shift the groundwater table closer to the surface. The advantage of the parameterized model on the other hand is the inclusion of various uncertainties in initial conditions, rheology, subsurface rock composition, thermal properties of crust and mantle, radiogenic heart source distribution, and groundwater chemistry (variable amounts of Ca- and Mg-perchlorates and chlorides as well as sulfates).
We show how groundwater levels vary as a function of location on Mars today and across time, and discuss implications for the deep subsurface habitability of Mars across time, from the Noachian to modern day.
Acknowledgments: This work was performed in part at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under contract to NASA. © 2020, California Institute of Technology.