Space Science Reviews

, Volume 174, Issue 1–4, pp 155–212 | Cite as

Quantitative Assessments of the Martian Hydrosphere

  • Jeremie Lasue
  • Nicolas Mangold
  • Ernst Hauber
  • Steve Clifford
  • William Feldman
  • Olivier Gasnault
  • Cyril Grima
  • Sylvestre Maurice
  • Olivier Mousis


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 Sciences Mars Water Hydrosphere Cryosphere 



The authors thank the editor Mike Toplis, and 3 referees for careful comments on this manuscript. The authors also thank the staff of the International Space Science Institute (ISSI) in Bern, Switzerland for hospitality and assistance. Additional thanks to the HiRISE, MOC, MOLA, TES, THEMIS, SHARAD and MARSIS teams for providing excellent data to the scientific community. This work was partly supported by Los Alamos LDRD program. This is SC LPI contribution number 1704.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeremie Lasue
    • 1
    • 2
  • Nicolas Mangold
    • 3
  • Ernst Hauber
    • 4
  • Steve Clifford
    • 5
  • William Feldman
    • 6
  • Olivier Gasnault
    • 1
    • 2
  • Cyril Grima
    • 7
  • Sylvestre Maurice
    • 1
    • 2
  • Olivier Mousis
    • 1
    • 2
    • 8
  1. 1.UPS-OMP, IRAPUniversité de ToulouseToulouseFrance
  2. 2.CNRSIRAPToulouse cedex 4France
  3. 3.Laboratoire Planétologie et Géodynamique de NantesCNRS and University of NantesNantesFrance
  4. 4.DLR-Institut für PlanetenforschungBerlin-AdlershofGermany
  5. 5.Lunar and Planetary InstituteHoustonUSA
  6. 6.Planetary Science InstituteTucsonUSA
  7. 7.Institute for Geophysics, Jackson School of GeosciencesUniversity of Texas at AustinAustinUSA
  8. 8.Institut UTINAM, CNRS/INSU, UMR 6213, Observatoire des Sciences de l’Univers THETAUniversité de Franche-ComtéBesançonFrance

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