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Cataclysmic flooding from paleolakes in cold environment: A comparative study on Earth and Mars

Friday, April 3, 2009
Komatsu (International Research School of Planetary Sciences, Italy)

Cold environments in Ice-Age Earth and on Mars appear to have provided unique conditions for the formation of paleolakes. Such conditions include ice-damming or supply of water by ground ice melting. The past presence of lacustrine systems is inferred based on shoreline evidence and/or lake sediments. Cataclysmic flooding from the paleolakes occurred either due to ice-dam failures or breaching of lake basin rim. I will present results of recent investigations on two examples of paleolake-paleoflooding in Siberia and on Mars. The work in Siberia focuses on the Upper Yenisei River drainages where two large paleolakes formed owing to ice-damming and/or other blocking mechanisms. A wide range of evidence exist along the Upper Yenisei River for the cataclysmic flooding caused by ice-dam failure of one of the paleolakes. The work on Mars focuses on the Morella crater basin hosting a paleolake and Elaver Vallis formed by cataclysmic flooding caused by spillover of the Morella paleolake.

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