New Findings Corroborate
Mars Tidal Model

A paper presented at the recent Geological Society of America annual meeting has offered a confirmation of the Mars Tidal Model we published last August. This new paper, presented by a NASA team from the Goddard Space Flight Center, used data gathered by the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter instrument to determine that just below the visible surface of the Northern lowlands were a series of "impact basins" consistent with the cratered Southern highlands. The paper further went on to indicate that "The very large number in Northern terrains suggests the lowlands of Mars, below a veneer of young plains-forming units, are very old, and that the lowlands formed very early in Martian history."

While we take issue with the latter part of that statement, it is clear that this work confirms what we asserted a few months ago. In our paper, we argued that contrary to current assumptions about Mars genesis, the Southern cratered highlands were the result of a geologically recent bombardment, and that the Northern lowlands were the result of an ancient Martian ocean that had flowed and re-sculpted the Northern plains after the destruction of Mars parent planet.

Without re-covering too much ground here, our theory centers around the notion that huge mantle uplifts in Mars crust are tidal bulges, caused by an orbital lock relationship between Mars and a parent planet, "Planet V". In our model, this relationship went on for millions of years, perhaps hundreds of millions, and was broken only when "Planet V" was destroyed in a cataclysmic collision with another body, or a gargantuan internal explosion. The resultant debris bombarded not only Mars, but a large portion of the solar system. Mars, as a close-by satellite, was the hardest hit, as the devastating impacts ripped away most of her atmosphere and blasted the planet with rubble. It is this bombardment which accounts for the well known "crustal dichotomy" of Mars, where the (roughly) Southern hemisphere has a crustal thickness nearly twice that of the Northern lowlands in some places.

We also argued that the North was further (and subsequent to the planetary bombardment) massively re-sculpted in this process, by the sudden and catastrophic release of a former Martian "bi-modal tidal ocean."  This newly released "double ocean"  flowed North from the Tharsis Rise and Arabia Terra, completely flooding the Northern lowlands in the process -- the waters from the Tharsis Rise causing further deepening of the pre-existing Valles Marineris, (initially caused by previous tidal erosion during Mars initial capture as a satellite hundreds of millions of years earlier).

Now, what this new paper has asserted is that there is evidence of buried impact basins in the North, akin to those in the South, implying that these buried impact craters were formed at the same time as the highlands of the South. Because the conventional models assume an early bombardment of the inner solar system billions of years ago, these features are automatically dated to that age. The problem is that the conventional models are based on a series of assumptions, built on the idea that the solar system accreted billions of years ago from the primordial dust, and that this debris battered the various bodies in the solar system for a period of time thereafter until all of the material was used up. After that, the solar system has remained essentially static for over 4 billion years.

All of this is still little more than scientific conjecture, certainly as applied to Mars. Other than in a very limited lunar context (where we have returned and dated surface samples from Apollo), it has no basis in scientific fact -- and certainly no experimental Martian evidence (dated samples from the Martian surface) to currently support it. It is based solely on the comforting notion of gradualism, the idea that all solar system change takes place slowly over billions of years. Hence, the assumption that all major bombardments took place billions of years ago leads one to conclude that impact basins on Mars must have formed those same billions of years ago. But in fact, a careful reading of the new Northern lowlands Abstract shows that not only does this new data indicate no such thing, it clearly supports our own notion of a sudden and catastrophic end to Mars "garden of Eden" period -- possibly very recently in geologic terms.

The key is in this quote from the Abstract:

"The cumulative number of lowland "MOLA-found" basins per unit area is greater than that for visible impact basins in the highlands, but less than that for buried highland basins."

In other words, the buried craters in the North are more numerous than those visible on the surface in the South (!), but less numerous than those that are buried under the rubble in the South -- as one would expect in a massive bombardment scenario, followed by massive surface water erosion and burial by eroded sediments in low lying areas. This means that the Northern Lowlands and Southern Highlands were probably formed at the same time -- at least the craters were -- and from the same "recent" event. But since the North was pointed away from the blast wave of "Planet V", it has fewer buried impact basins than those buried (by subsequent impacts and water erosion) in the South. It was the subsequent re-sculpturing by the massive catastrophic water flows which washed away the visible evidence of the North's heavy bombardment that has led to the erroneous (gradualism based) assumption, for more than thirty years, that the Southern Highlands are "more ancient".

All of this is totally consistent with the bombardment scenario aspects of our theory (which has also been proposed by others), yet it is in direct conflict with essentially all current "planetary science community" thinking vis--vis Mars. Advocates of the gradualism model must now develop an ad-hoc explanation as to how so many buried  impact basins in the North could have been "re-sculpted" preferentially in only one hemisphere of the planet ... and by what selective process.

Our theory requires no such revision to fit this remarkable new data. On the contrary: we predicted it! A blast wave from "Planet V" struck Mars, piling up craters all over the planet, but more so in the direction of the blast wave, roughly South. The loss of the orbital lock relationship with "Planet V" sent the waters of Mars' oceans cascading across the North (which was already geographically lower), washing away the surface evidence of the impacts there and burying the rest in miles of silts, while the remaining incoming debris (also later eroded, but to a much lesser degree) continued to pile up on the Southern face of the planet pointed in the direction of the blast wave, accounting for the currently inexplicable "Southern line of dichotomy."

Simple, elegant, and correct.

The Mars Tidal Model has passed it's first major test.