Vernadsky-Brown Microsymposium 39

Geological Evidence for Climate Change in Mars History


Models for Climate Evolution

March 13-14, 2004

Lunar and Planetary Institute

Houston, Texas

This year the Microsymposium will focus on Mars and the topics of geological evidence for climate change throughout its history and models for climate evolution. Recent results from Mars Global Surveyor and Odyssey missions have provided abundant evidence for Amazonian climate change and a range of surficial deposits that may reflect this change. In addition, these same data are now providing clues as to where water might be sequestered, both mineralogically bound and as buried deposits. Combinations of altimetry, images, and physical, chemical and mineralogical properties are now being used to address ancient Hesperian and Noachian-aged climates on Mars. Upcoming Mars Exploration Rover and Mars Express missions will provide additional new data on these topics. Furthermore, Mars General Circulation Models and mesoscale models are becoming more sophisticated to the extent that they can be used to make predictions that can be tested with geological observations. GCMs can now be formulated to include significant variations in orbital parameters and different amounts of water vapor, in order to map water transport and budgets under different climatic conditions.

Thus, this seems to be a good time to investigate the most recent developments in models for general circulation and climate evolution and their predictions, as well as new results in geological analysis of deposits that might represent the record of climate change during the history of Mars. It is hoped that mutual discussion of these parallel results in a workshop mode will inform both communities of the promise and problems in deciphering the climate history of Mars and will begin to bring some collaboration and synergism to the investigation of the history of water and climate on Mars.

The workshop will include several keynote papers on specific aspects of the topic, and contributed papers and posters as well. The key dimension is the workshop mode, which favors extended open discussion not commonly occurring at regular meetings, and we will strive to plan sufficient time for open discussion of important issues raised by the data and keynote presentations.

Among the key questions to be addressed are:

1. What are the distinctive geological features from which the record of climate change can be interpreted on Mars?

2. What new features have been discovered, and how have they changed our views?

3. Where does water and ice reside in non-polar regions and how has this changed our view of climate history?

4. What is the weathering regime (and implied rates) of the surface and subsurface of Mars, and what are the implications for climate change?

5. What do recent general circulation and mesoscale climate models predict about the distribution of geological features?

6. How can geological features be used to refine and test general circulation models?

7. How have our perceptions of the implications of geological features for climate history (e.g., valley networks) changed since the post-Viking models?

The Microsymposium will be held at the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston, Texas, beginning at 1 pm on Saturday, March 13, and will conclude Sunday, March 14, by 12 noon. If you are interested in participating in the Microsymposium, please respond to this e-mail by answering the questions below. The Microsymposium will emphasize open discussion format but will be anchored by several invited overviews, posters, and some short contributed papers and commentaries.


____ I would like to attend Microsymposium 37.

I would like to make a contribution on the following subject or theme:


____ I will be unable to attend, but keep me on the mailing list..


The due date for contributions was December 15, 2003. Those wishing to attend the conference can register any time up March 10, 2004 by contacting Please forward this announcement to any interested students and colleagues. For further updates, please consult:


Alexander Basilevsky, Michael Carr, Robert Haberle, James W. Head, Mikhail Kreslavsky and David Marchant, Co-convenors.