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No. 8: Fall 1979

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An oasis on mars -- no palm trees but...

Most of the data returned from the Viking Landers and Orbiters confirm a highly desiccated surface for Mars. Life-as-we-know-it would seem to be impossible in such an ultra-dry environment. The Solis Lacus region is an exception. On occasion, Orbiter photos of this region have revealed heavy frosts and fogs. Further, the clouds here have more moisture in them than elsewhere on Mars. Conclusion: Considerably more water exists near the surface of the Solis Lacus region than elsewhere.

Since this area was the source of the great 1971 Martian dust storm, one wonders whether the unusual concentration of water has been revealed only because winds have stripped off the normally dry surface layer.

(Huguenin, R.L., et al; "Mars: An Oasis in Solis Lacus," Eos, 60:306, 1979.)

Comment. Close-up photos of Mars show many signs of fluid erosion. Abundant water may still remain well below the planet's surface.

Reference. Probable wet areas on Mars are cataloged at AME16 in The Moon and the Planets. Ordering information for this book is located here.

From Science Frontiers #8, Fall 1979. 1979-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987