Reconstructing the past climate at Gale crater, Mars, from hydrological modeling of late-stage lakes

David G. Horvath, Jeffrey C. Andrews-Hanna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


The sedimentary deposits in Gale crater may preserve one of the best records of the early Martian climate during the Late Noachian and Early Hesperian. Surface and orbital observations support the presence of two periods of lake stability in Gale crater—prior to the formation of the sedimentary mound during the Late Noachian and after the formation and erosion of the mound to its present state in the Early Hesperian. Here we use hydrological models and late-stage lake levels at Gale, to reconstruct the climate of Mars after mound formation and erosion to its present state. Using Earth analog climates, we show that the late-stage lakes require wetter interludes characterized by semiarid climates after the transition to arid conditions in the Hesperian. These climates are much wetter than is thought to characterize much of the Hesperian and are more similar to estimates of the Late Noachian climate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8196-8204
Number of pages9
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number16
StatePublished - Aug 28 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Gale crater
  • climate
  • hydrology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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