More evidence for ancient ocean on Mars

Orbital view of the Olympus Mons volcano on Mars. If the new research is correct, it was once surrounded by an ocean.
Credit: NASA / JPL

Did Mars once have oceans? That is one of the oldest and most-debated questions about the Red Planet; the evidence has been tantalizing but also inconclusive so far. Now, two new studies are suggesting that indeed there was a large ocean in the northern hemisphere a long time ago.

The first study focuses on polygonal terrain similar to that seen on ocean bottoms here on Earth, while the second suggests that the largest Martian volcano, Olympus Mons, was surrounded by that ocean, much like the Hawaiian island volcanoes.

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Paul Scott Anderson is a freelance space writer with a life-long passion for space exploration and astronomy. He started his blog The Meridiani Journal in 2005, which is a chronicle of planetary exploration. He also publishes The Exoplanet Report e-paper. In 2011, he started writing about space on a freelance basis, and now also currently write for AmericaSpace and He has also written for Universe Today and SpaceFlight Insider, has been published in The Mars Quarterly and has done supplementary writing for the well-known iOS app Exoplanet for iPhone and iPad.