Posts Tagged ‘vast ocean likely covered one-third of the surface of Mars some 3.5 billion years ago’

This is an illustration of what Mars might have looked like some 3.5 billion years ago when an ocean likely covered one-third of the planet's surface, according to a new University of Colorado at Boulder study. (Illustration by University of Colorado) Credit: University of Colorado

A vast ocean likely covered one-third of the surface of Mars some 3.5 billion years ago, according to a new study conducted by University of Colorado at Boulder scientists.

Di Achille and Hynek used a geographic information system, or GIS, to map the Martian terrain and conclude the ocean likely would have covered about 36 percent of the planet and contained about 30 million cubic miles, or 124 million cubic kilometers, of water. The amount of water in the ancient ocean would have formed the equivalent of an 1,800-foot, or 550-meter deep layer of water spread out over the entire planet.

The volume of the ancient Mars ocean would have been about 10 times less than current volume of Earth’s oceans, Hynek said. Mars is slightly more than half the size of Earth.