Dry floods on Mars

By Rachel Nowak in Melbourne THE giant canyons on Mars were carved not by water but by an icy equivalent of the rivers of ash that helped to destroy Pompeii, claims an Australian geologist. If he’s right, this would mean that Mars has been cold and dry—and probably lifeless—for the past 3.5 billion years, far longer than most scientists believe. “Mars has always been a place of people’s imaginations,” says Nick Hoffman of La Trobe University in Melbourne. “People want Mars to be an abode for Earth-like life forms.” Hoffman thinks “density flows”,
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