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Pleistocene Lake Bonneville as an analog for extraterrestrial lakes and oceans

September 1, 2016

Geomorphic confirmation for a putative ancient Mars ocean relies on analog comparisons of coastal-like features such as shoreline feature attributes and temporal scales of process formation. Pleistocene Lake Bonneville is one of the few large, geologically young, terrestrial lake systems that exemplify well-preserved shoreline characteristics that formed quickly, on the order of a thousand years or less. Studies of Lake Bonneville provide two essential analog considerations for interpreting shorelines on Mars: (1) morphological variations in expression depend on constructional vs erosional processes, and (2) shorelines are not always correlative at an equipotential elevation across a basin due to isostasy, heat flow, wave setup, fetch, and other factors. Although other large terrestrial lake systems display supporting evidence for geomorphic comparisons, Lake Bonneville encompasses the most integrated examples of preserved coastal features related to basin history, sediment supply, climate, and fetch, all within the context of a detailed hydrograph. These collective terrestrial lessons provide a framework to evaluate possible boundary conditions for ancient Mars hydrology and large water body environmental feedbacks. This knowledge of shoreline characteristics, processes, and environments can support explorations of habitable environments and guide future mission explorations.

Publication Year 2016
Title Pleistocene Lake Bonneville as an analog for extraterrestrial lakes and oceans
DOI 10.1016/B978-0-444-63590-7.00021-4
Authors M.A. Chan, P. Jewell, T. J. Parker, J. Ormo, Chris Okubo, G. Komatsu
Publication Type Book Chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Index ID 70176195
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Astrogeology Science Center