Definitive Evidence Of An Ancient Lake On Mars

We may earn a commission from links on this page.

Water on ancient Mars may actually have been abundant: Scientists have speculated about ancient rivers and lakes for years. But a team at University of Colorado at Boulder announced this week the first "definitive" evidence of a lake on Mars.

This research is based on images from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). The images show that water carved a 30 mile long canyon and then collected in a delta valley to form a lake. This lake and delta are prime candidate spots for finding buried ancient life.

In this image, the research team has reconstructed what the lake, dubbed Shalbatana Lake, could have looked like in its prime. The lake itself was 450 meters deep (1,476 feet) and contained as much water as Lake Champlain in Vermont.


Just as on Earth, lakes and deltas could provide a habitat for various types of life. The next step is to start digging.

Mars Lake Held as Much Water as Lake Champlain [Discovery News]

(Image: G. Di Achille, University of Colorado)