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Moontanman

Was Mars an ice world?

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Mars would appear to have many channels and alluvial fans that indicate that at one time it had water and maybe even seas but at the time this is thought to have taken place The Sun was significantly dimmer than it is today and unless Mars had a vast thick atmosphere this would seem unlikely. The Earth is thought to have frozen completely over at least twice in geological time so IMHO a balmy Mars with rivers and seas seems unlikely. 

On Earth large ice sheet often have lakes, streams, and rivers under them and we do see Moons that are ice covered but far enough from the sun that ice is stable. Mars is close enough to the Sun for ice not to be completely stable and small enough to have lost its atmosphere and left the ice covered surface exposed to very low atmospheric pressures where ice might have sublimed and been blown away by the solar wind. 

While this was going on streams and lakes under the Martian ice might have flowed and left behind the apparent stream beds and lakes that were never actually exposed to the surface while this was going on. 

So the Martian surface we see is what is left behind after all the ice is lost to space via the solar wind due to Mars lacking a significant magnetic field! 

Thoughts? 

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Interesting, you made a good case for Mars as an ice world.  I've never seen that suggested in ANY TV program I've ever seen on the subject "history of Mars."

Funny, after posting above, I googled "was mars an ice world" and the first item on the list was your OP! 

Edited by Airbrush

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18 hours ago, Airbrush said:

Interesting, you made a good case for Mars as an ice world.  I've never seen that suggested in ANY TV program I've ever seen on the subject "history of Mars."

Funny, after posting above, I googled "was mars an ice world" and the first item on the list was your OP! 

That is interesting, it's something I've been mulling over for a few years now. It seems to make sense, more sense than Mars was warm and balmy at a time when the sun was dim. 

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I remember we had a similar discussion on SFN already, no?

I recall that I commented positively about the idea. While in periods of increased volcanic activity Mars might be able to acquire an atmosphere thick and greenhouse enough to develop significant surfaces of open water, I agree that most of the time it had to be ice covered.

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On 9/13/2019 at 5:19 PM, Moontanman said:

The Earth is thought to have frozen completely over at least twice in geological time so IMHO a balmy Mars with rivers and seas seems unlikely.

That's a non sequitor.

40 minutes ago, Moontanman said:
19 hours ago, Airbrush said:

Interesting, you made a good case for Mars as an ice world.  I've never seen that suggested in ANY TV program I've ever seen on the subject "history of Mars."

Funny, after posting above, I googled "was mars an ice world" and the first item on the list was your OP! 

That is interesting, it's something I've been mulling over for a few years now. It seems to make sense, more sense than Mars was warm and balmy at a time when the sun was dim. 

It would, since it's you that suggested it...

43 minutes ago, Moontanman said:

more sense than Mars was warm and balmy at a time when the sun was dim.

I think you mean dimmer and perhaps at a time when Mars was closer to it; it only takes a degree to turn an icy world into a liquid one, and then back again.

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44 minutes ago, dimreepr said:

That's a non sequitor.

No, a dim sun would indicate colder planets, Mars is even further from the sun than earth and earth froze over ergo Mars would have been colder. Actually much colder, Earth in the orbit of Mars today would be an ice ball! 

44 minutes ago, dimreepr said:

It would, since it's you that suggested it...

I suggested it based on logic. 

44 minutes ago, dimreepr said:

I think you mean dimmer and perhaps at a time when Mars was closer to it; it only takes a degree to turn an icy world into a liquid one, and then back again.

Mars was closer? Citation please... 

 

1 hour ago, Danijel Gorupec said:

I remember we had a similar discussion on SFN already, no?

I recall that I commented positively about the idea. While in periods of increased volcanic activity Mars might be able to acquire an atmosphere thick and greenhouse enough to develop significant surfaces of open water, I agree that most of the time it had to be ice covered.

You might be right, senility is a terrible thing.. 

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3 minutes ago, Moontanman said:
Quote

I think you mean dimmer and perhaps at a time when Mars was closer to it; it only takes a degree to turn an icy world into a liquid one, and then back again.

Mars was closer? Citation please... 

Please note, I didn't say Mars was closer than the Earth; and do you really need a citation that one degree stands between ice and water?

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3 hours ago, dimreepr said:

Please note, I didn't say Mars was closer than the Earth; and do you really need a citation that one degree stands between ice and water?

Considering that far more than 1 degree of temp difference stands between the orbital temperature of Mars and Earth and that Earth at the same distance as Mars would be an ice ball...

Check your grammar next time, It certainly read that you were saying mars was closer to the sun then than is it now... But my point is that Mars would have had to have considerably more atmosphere than earth to be warm and balmy at it's distance from the sun,  than the Earth had or has and the Earth froze over at least twice... 

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16 hours ago, Moontanman said:

Considering that far more than 1 degree of temp difference stands between the orbital temperature of Mars and Earth and that Earth at the same distance as Mars would be an ice ball..

This is interesting, liquid water may still flow on Mars.

Quote

Observations of the Red Planet indicate that rivers and oceans may have been prominent features in its early history. Billions of years ago, Mars was a warm and wet world that could have supported microbial life in some regions.

 

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1 hour ago, dimreepr said:

This is interesting, liquid water may still flow on Mars.

 

I am well aware of the warm wet Mars hypothesis, and the water flows are thought to be brine from aquifers which in no way negates my idea.  

Edited by Moontanman

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1 hour ago, Moontanman said:

I am well aware of the warm wet Mars hypothesis, and the water flows are thought to be brine from aquifers which in no way negates my idea.  

Having re-read the title and OP, I'm confused as to what your idea is; it's like you're asking if steve was asleep last night, because I couldn't and I'm far more warm and comfortable.

Edited by dimreepr

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5 hours ago, dimreepr said:

Having re-read the title and OP, I'm confused as to what your idea is; it's like you're asking if steve was asleep last night, because I couldn't and I'm far more warm and comfortable.

My idea is there was never a warm wet balmy Mars, the Mars we see today is the end result of an ice world that has evaporated into space. As opposed to an Earth like world that froze and then evaporated into space. At the time Mars was supposed to be warm and balmy the Sun was significantly dimmer and colder than it is today, Venus is thought to have had oceans and warm temps, Earth waffled between warm and ice and Mars should have been frozen. 

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Geologically speaking the traces left by water and ice significantly differ in structure perhaps a study of the geological traces is appropriate. Ie the types and structure of erosion gouges.

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4 hours ago, Mordred said:

Geologically speaking the traces left by water and ice significantly differ in structure perhaps a study of the geological traces is appropriate. Ie the types and structure of erosion gouges.

Are you thinking of glaciers? I am thinking more of a complete ice shell that doesn't move and if my idea has any merit at all the high places should sublime first leaving any remaining ice in lowlands. 

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Then how do you explain the elevation changes of several of the mountain region's or the impressions that match those of a leftover lake or those that match tributaries as per remnants of rivers ?

A continental glacier leaves a completely different pattern after it melts or evaporates 

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_mountains_on_Mars_by_height

Here is the list of canyons or Valles

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_valles_on_Mars

Here as well

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lakes_on_Mars

Many of these have reference papers 

 I suggest you start there

Edited by Mordred

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Now I am more inclined to think that The volcanic activity could be the most likely factor there is an alternative theory that our sun might had between 2 to 5 percent more mass in the past but solar winds removed the excess. I remember hearing about it a few years ago but took a bit to find a relevant link

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.space.com/amp/14565-earth-climate-young-sun-paradox.html

Anyways googling Young sun paradox will pull up some hits one of the more recent suggested solutions is due to higher solar flare activity

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://ore.exeter.ac.uk/repository/bitstream/handle/10871/31990/NatGeo_VAirapetian.pdf%3Fsequence%3D1%26isAllowed%3Dy&ved=2ahUKEwjWuuDbmNfkAhXK6Z4KHd8MBEMQFjAEegQIBBAB&usg=AOvVaw2oatKbD466MJR4nUI4sD8o

Edited by Mordred

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17 hours ago, Moontanman said:

My idea is there was never a warm wet balmy Mars, the Mars we see today is the end result of an ice world that has evaporated into space. As opposed to an Earth like world that froze and then evaporated into space. At the time Mars was supposed to be warm and balmy the Sun was significantly dimmer and colder than it is today, Venus is thought to have had oceans and warm temps, Earth waffled between warm and ice and Mars should have been frozen. 

Thanks for the clarification, perhaps Mars was never warm and balmy by Earth/Venus standards, but the evidence suggesting liquid water did exist on large parts of Mars suggests it was warm enough, at least seasonally, that the whole planet was not icebound throughout its history.

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23 hours ago, Mordred said:

Then how do you explain the elevation changes of several of the mountain region's or the impressions that match those of a leftover lake or those that match tributaries as per remnants of rivers ?

A continental glacier leaves a completely different pattern after it melts or evaporates 

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_mountains_on_Mars_by_height

Here is the list of canyons or Valles

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_valles_on_Mars

Here as well

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lakes_on_Mars

Many of these have reference papers 

 I suggest you start there

The Ice cap on Antarctica has chains of lakes and even streams flowing from one lake to another. I honestly do not see how your links negate my idea.  

19 hours ago, Mordred said:

Now I am more inclined to think that The volcanic activity could be the most likely factor there is an alternative theory that our sun might had between 2 to 5 percent more mass in the past but solar winds removed the excess. I remember hearing about it a few years ago but took a bit to find a relevant link

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.space.com/amp/14565-earth-climate-young-sun-paradox.html

Anyways googling Young sun paradox will pull up some hits one of the more recent suggested solutions is due to higher solar flare activity

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://ore.exeter.ac.uk/repository/bitstream/handle/10871/31990/NatGeo_VAirapetian.pdf%3Fsequence%3D1%26isAllowed%3Dy&ved=2ahUKEwjWuuDbmNfkAhXK6Z4KHd8MBEMQFjAEegQIBBAB&usg=AOvVaw2oatKbD466MJR4nUI4sD8o

Young sun paradox would seem to be just another way to explain away the Frozen Mars,  such enormous solar winds should have had devastating effects on the inner planets and their atmospheres leaving them with little or no gaseous envelopes. A somewhat thicker atmosphere could have saved the Earth from freezing over,  methane is thought to have been a large component of Earths early atmosphere and methane is a powerful greenhouse gas. Poor Mars would have been more like Europa although with a somewhat thinner ice shell. Geologic activity could have kept a layer of liquid water under the ice for quite sometime before the sublimation of the ice cover exposed the water. 

The High levels of peroxides on Mars could also be explained as a response to the UV from the sun and it's effect on ice. This is thought by some to have been at least partly responsible for one of the great oxidation events after snowball earth. 

 

Edited by Moontanman

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If you look closely enough the Young sun paradox is also an attempt to explain why the Earth wasn't frozen over at that particular time period. The geological evidence found on Earth don't jive with the current theories  involving the required greenhouse gasses from soil samples.

Both conditions at the Earth and Mars would have been frozen over due to a smaller cooler sun. I only presented two possible solutions there is more research into that problem. It's been around for 25 years and is still being worked on today.

It is one of the open questions in astrophysics for our solar system evolution.

Let me ask you a question if the temperature never supported liquid water how can you have lakes and rivers from glaciers to cut canyons ?

Particularly since a low atmospheric pressure leads to a different evaporation process of water vapor being broken down into H2 and oxygen from solar radiation. If it's below it's tripline threshold  not sure if I spelled that right lol not my expertise. 

Personally I am more inclined towards volcanic activity causing greenhouse gases but time will tell.

Edited by Mordred

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9 hours ago, Mordred said:

 

Let me ask you a question if the temperature never supported liquid water how can you have lakes and rivers from glaciers to cut canyons ?

 

Liquid water would have been under the ice sheet. As I said the antarctic ice cap while much smaller does have lake and rivers under the ice. Tectonic activity would have raised volcanoes under the ice sheet, caused Mars quakes and other activity to move a this layer of water around under the ice. I am not suggesting a layer of water many miles thick like Europa and as the ice sublimed the water beneath would have frozen deeper until finally contacting the surface at the high points with basins retaining ice covered water longer. 

There is an area on Mars around the equator, if I remember correctly, that appears to ice covered by dust and regolith so some of this primordial ice may still remain.  As the surface of Mars moved water could have flowed from one basin to another under the ice. 

Edited by Moontanman

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Does your theory mean that during the late heavy bombardment, Mars received a proportionate share of water-ice that turned Mars and Earth into water worlds.  But Mars froze over forming a shield over the surface, allowing liquid water to flow under the ice shield.  When Mars lost it's magnetic field, the solar wind began to blow away the atmosphere and also blow away the ice shield.  Then, like a thin egg shell, the ice covering cracked and fragmented allowing the liquid water under the ice to freeze and the inner and outer atmospheres to mix.  Then most of the water-ice was stripped away by the solar wind.

Edited by Airbrush

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23 minutes ago, Airbrush said:

Does your theory mean that during the late heavy bombardment, Mars received a proportionate share of water-ice that turned Mars and Earth into water worlds.  But Mars froze over forming a shield over the surface, allowing liquid water to flow under the ice shield.  When Mars lost it's magnetic field, the solar wind began to blow away the atmosphere and also blow away the ice shield.  Then, like a thin egg shell, the ice covering cracked and fragmented allowing the liquid water under the ice to freeze and the inner and outer atmospheres to mix.  Then most of the water-ice was stripped away by the solar wind.

Sounds about right! 

 

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