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Charles Schmidt

My training is in linguistics and Russian Lit., but I have followed Mars closely since '98. Thank you Oliver for writing "Mapping Mars";it is unquestionably the finest work on Mars for the layperson. Some chapters I reread slowly with relish. And thank you Bruce for your outstanding reporting.
Observing Kees's wet Terra Meridiani, his sea level leaves a dry zone at the landing ellipse. The image got me thinking about water depth. If there was indeed some depth of water at Terra Meridiani, I'm curious how that might relate to contemporaneous water levels globally, for while Meridiani may be very very flat, it's not exactly below datum either. See MOLA link


Who's to say if the standing liquid water was global or not. My thinking is that liquid water at such an elevation may speak to rather large volumes of water elsewhere - such as the "basin" to the north - given the need to inundate Meridiani which is about at datum (MOLA middle green). It seems likely that today's press conference will speak to this....

Thanks again for a great blog, and forgive my naive questions.

Oliver Morton

Thanks for the kind words. The point about "sea level" is very interesting. It's possible that Meridiani underwent regional uplift after the rocks were laid down; there was a geophysics paper a while back, by Roger Phillips and lots of MOLA people, which argued the creation of Tharsis would have warped the whole lithosphere, causing a trough all around Tharsis (think Chryse) and a compensating uplift on the other side of the trough (pdf at http://ltpwww.gsfc.nasa.gov/tharsis/phillips.tharsis.pdf ). Meridiani would be a little further west than you'd imagine such uplift being felt, but I'd guess that it's a possibility. In that case Meridiani might have started off a fair bit lower; it might be an uplifted version of the sort of terrain now hidden under the Northern plains.

Or there may just have been lots and lots of water...

Rupert Goodwins

An unreconstructed Windows user writes: the Mars globe software from Geofusion is more than worth the download. You do need a spiffy graphics card and half a gig of memory to do it justice - it flys on my 2GHz P4 at home, which has both those things, but judders in a most un-celestial fashion on my 2.4GHz P4 at work, which has neither.


Rupert Goodwins

More on the Geofusion globe: my friend, the excellently named Adrian Mars, reports that a higher resolution version will be available soon for around $30. He also seems to have got himself lined up for an early version of same: armchair rovers, rejoice.


Charles Schmidt

The Geofusion globe has got my interest, though it's not clear to me if it would run on my newish Dell Dimension. I've been aiming to buy a globe to improve my knowledge of the true projection and continuity of Mars' Terrae. You can't beat a physical sphere, although a low cost software version runs a close second. Thanks for the tip Rupert.


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