The seismic response of an aquifer to the propagation of an impact generated shock wave: A possible trigger of the Martian outflow channels Conference Paper uri icon


  • Aquifer dilation from shock waves produced by the 8.4 magnitude Alaskan earthquake of 1964 led to water and sediment ejection from the ground up to 400 km away from the earthquake's epicenter. Groundwater disturbances were observed as far away as Perry, Florida (approximately 5500 km), where well water fluctuations with an amplitude of as much as 2.3 m were reported. The martian cratering record provides evidence that the planet has experienced numerous seismic events of a similar, and often much greater, magnitude. Given this fact, and the photogeologic evidence for abundant water in the early crust, the response of a basalt aquifer to the propagation of compressional waves (P-waves) produced by impacts in the 33-1000 km diameter size range were investigated. The resulting one-dimensional changes in effective stress and pore pressure were calculated - as a function of both distance and time - based on the following assumptions: (1) that all of the seismic energy radiated by an impact is transmitted as a single compressional wave; (2) that both the host rock and groundwater are compressible; and (3) that there is no net flow between the water-filled pores.

published proceedings

  • Lunar and Planetary Inst., Twenty-Fourth Lunar and Planetary Science Conference. Part 2: G-M

author list (cited authors)

  • Leyva, I. A., & Clifford, S. M.

complete list of authors

  • Leyva, IA||Clifford, SM

publication date

  • January 1993