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Impact-induced hydrothermal activity on early Mars Oleg Abramov and David A. Kring

Summary: Impact-induced hydrothermal activity on early Mars
Oleg Abramov and David A. Kring
Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, USA
Received 15 April 2005; revised 5 August 2005; accepted 15 August 2005; published 4 November 2005.
[1] We report on numerical modeling results of postimpact cooling of craters with
diameters of 30, 100, and 180 km in an early Martian environment, with and without the
presence of water. The effects of several variables, such as ground permeability and the
presence of a crater lake, were tested. Host rock permeability is the main factor affecting
fluid circulation and lifetimes of hydrothermal systems, and several permeability cases
were examined for each crater. The absence of a crater lake decreases the amount of
circulating water and increases the system lifetime; however, it does not dramatically
change the character of the system as long as the ground remains saturated. It was noted
that vertical heat transport by water increases the temperature of localized near-surface
regions and can prolong system lifetime, which is defined by maximum near-surface
temperature. However, for very high permeabilities this effect is negated by the overall
rapid cooling of the system. System lifetimes, which are defined by near-surface
temperatures and averaged for all permeability cases examined, were 67,000 years for the
30-km crater, 290,000 years for the 100-km crater, and 380,000 for the 180-km crater.
Also, an approximation of the thermal evolution of a Hellas-sized basin suggests potential
for hydrothermal activity for $10 Myr after the impact. These lifetimes provide ample


Source: Abramov, Oleg - Lunar and Planetary Institute


Collections: Geosciences; Physics