"Martian Ocean" now one of my favorite phrases. And maybe it's true.

by JGordon on Jun. 14th, 2010

Spash!: Martian ocean, Martian ocean. An artist's rendering. Martian ocean.
Spash!: Martian ocean, Martian ocean. An artist's rendering. Martian ocean.Courtesy lttiz
Joining my list of most-pleasing words (ala Donny Darko's "cellar door"), which includes such old favorites as "jasper geode" and "top banana," is the phrase "Martian ocean." And, as it happens, a Martian ocean may have once been a real thing.

Based on the analysis of dozens of the red planet's geographical features, a team of scientists from the University of Colorado at Boulder believe that an ocean may have covered about one-third of Mars' surface, about 3.5 billion years ago. Most of the river delta-like features on Mars, they claim, likely marked the boundaries of the ancient ocean. And although the ocean would have been only about one-tenth the volume of Earth's oceans, the amount of sediment in the deltas suggests that there was once a significant amount of precipitation on Mars, carrying silt through the many river valleys to the ocean.

If the theory is true, Mars would have had a water cycle very similar to Earth's, with "precipitation, runoff, cloud formation, and ice and groundwater accumulation."

And, most importantly, a Martian ocean. Martian ocean. Maaartiiaaan ooocceeaaan. Martian ocean.

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