Correlative width-discharge relationships from the Missouri River Basin are commonly used to estimate fluvial paleodischarge on Mars. However, hydraulic geometry provides alternative, and causal, width-discharge relationships derived from broader samples of channels, including those in reduced-gravity (submarine) environments. Comparison of these relationships implies that causal relationships from hydraulic geometry should yield more accurate and more precise discharge estimates. Our remote analysis of a Martian-terrestrial analog channel, combined with in situ discharge data, substantiates this implication. Applied to Martian features, these results imply that paleodischarges of interior channels of Noachian-Hesperian (~3.7 Ga) valley networks have been underestimated by a factor of several, whereas paleodischarges for smaller fluvial deposits of the Late Hesperian-Early Amazonian (~3.0 Ga) have been overestimated. Thus, these new paleodischarges significantly magnify the contrast between early and late Martian hydrologic activity. Width-discharge relationships from hydraulic geometry represent validated tools for quantifying fluvial input near candidate landing sites of upcoming missions.
- hydraulic geometry
- terrestrial analog
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)