Pleistocene Lake Bonneville as an analog for extraterrestrial lakes and oceans

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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 type Book chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Title Pleistocene Lake Bonneville as an analog for extraterrestrial lakes and oceans
Chapter 21
DOI 10.1016/B978-0-444-63590-7.00021-4
Volume 20
Year Published 2016
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Contributing office(s) Astrogeology Science Center
Description 28 p.
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Subtype Monograph
Larger Work Title Developments in earth surface processes, Volume 20
First page 570
Last page 597
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