As glaciers recede on Earth, piles of rubble build up at the front of the ice, leaving a rocky ridge as a geological record of the past location of the glacier.
BIG PIC: Weird Volcanic ‘Heart' Found on Mars
New models of Mars' climatic past also support the theory that glaciers may have been present in this equatorial location and studies of ancient lava flows appear to coincide around 210 million years ago. According to this research, all these factors could have supported liquid water englacial lakes for hundreds to thousands of years, possibly enough time for very basic lifeforms to evolve.
"There's been a lot of work on Earth - though not as much as we would like - on the types of microbes that live in these englacial lakes," said Scanlon. "They've been studied mainly as an analog to [Jupiter's moon] Europa, where you've got an entire planet that's an ice covered lake."
What's more, sub surface masses of ice and pockets of liquid water may persist in the region today, only boosting the region's candidacy for a directed life-hunting Mars mission.