Space Science Reviews

, Volume 174, Issue 1, pp 155–212

Quantitative Assessments of the Martian Hydrosphere


    • UPS-OMP, IRAPUniversité de Toulouse
  • Nicolas Mangold
    • Laboratoire Planétologie et Géodynamique de NantesCNRS and University of Nantes
  • Ernst Hauber
    • DLR-Institut für Planetenforschung
  • Steve Clifford
    • Lunar and Planetary Institute
  • William Feldman
    • Planetary Science Institute
  • Olivier Gasnault
    • UPS-OMP, IRAPUniversité de Toulouse
  • Cyril Grima
    • Institute for Geophysics, Jackson School of GeosciencesUniversity of Texas at Austin
  • Sylvestre Maurice
    • UPS-OMP, IRAPUniversité de Toulouse
  • Olivier Mousis
    • UPS-OMP, IRAPUniversité de Toulouse
    • Institut UTINAM, CNRS/INSU, UMR 6213, Observatoire des Sciences de l’Univers THETAUniversité de Franche-Comté

DOI: 10.1007/s11214-012-9946-5

Cite this article as:
Lasue, J., Mangold, N., Hauber, E. et al. Space Sci Rev (2013) 174: 155. doi:10.1007/s11214-012-9946-5


In this paper, we review current estimates of the global water inventory of Mars, potential loss mechanisms, the thermophysical characteristics of the different reservoirs that water may be currently stored in, and assess how the planet’s hydrosphere and cryosphere evolved with time. First, we summarize the water inventory quantified from geological analyses of surface features related to both liquid water erosion, and ice-related landscapes. They indicate that, throughout most of Martian geologic history (and possibly continuing through to the present day), water was present to substantial depths, with a total inventory ranging from several 100 to as much as 1000 m Global Equivalent Layer (GEL). We then review the most recent estimates of water content based on subsurface detection by orbital and landed instruments, including deep penetrating radars such as SHARAD and MARSIS. We show that the total amount of water measured so far is about 30 m GEL, although a far larger amount of water may be stored below the sounding depths of currently operational instruments. Finally, a global picture of the current state of the subsurface water reservoirs and their evolution is discussed.


Planetary SciencesMarsWaterHydrosphereCryosphere

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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012