The McMurdo Dry Valleys of Antarctica: a geological, environmental, and ecological analog to the Martian surface and near surface

Mark R. Salvatore, Joseph S. Levy

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

The surface of Mars is universally thought to have experienced widespread cold and dry environmental conditions for at least the last half of its geologic history, with more modern studies suggesting relatively cold and dry conditions early in its geologic history as well. However, the paucity of liquid water and mean annual temperatures well below the freezing point of water do not necessarily mean a complete cessation of all water-related geologic activity at the Martian surface. Over the past several decades, investigations in the McMurdo Dry Valleys (MDV) of Antarctica have revealed a dynamic geological, environmental, and ecological system resulting from locally optimized conditions operating over repeated, albeit brief, intervals during summer months. In this chapter, we compare the hyper-arid and hypo-thermal environments of the MDV and the modern Martian surface and discuss three unique enigmas that demonstrate how the Antarctic is a valuable analog to better understand processes on Mars.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMars Geological Enigmas
Subtitle of host publicationFrom the Late Noachian Epoch to the Present Day
PublisherElsevier
Pages291-332
Number of pages42
ISBN (Electronic)9780128202456
ISBN (Print)9780128202463
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2021

Keywords

  • Antarctica
  • astrobiology
  • climate
  • geology
  • geomorphology
  • Mars

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)
  • Engineering(all)

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'The McMurdo Dry Valleys of Antarctica: a geological, environmental, and ecological analog to the Martian surface and near surface'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this