Signs of Underground Plumbing Seen on Mars

A NASA probe has spotted hundreds of small surface fractures near Mars’ equator that may have acted as underground natural plumbing to channel groundwater billions of years ago.
Geologists compare the fractures in the sandstone rock deposits on Mars to features called deformation bands on Earth, which can arise from the influence of groundwater in the underground bedrock. The bands and faults have strong influences on groundwater movement on Earth, and seem to have played the same role on Mars. Other research has examined how surface water from rain or snow shaped the planet surface, but many agree that groundwater has an equally important influence.
“Groundwater often flows along fractures such as these, and knowing that these are deformation bands helps us understand how the underground plumbing may have worked within these layered deposits,” said Chris Okubo, a geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey in Flagstaff, Ariz. who headed up a new study of the Martian fractures.