We seem to be dealing with two seperate issues concerning the existence of water in Mars' past. They are not mutually exclusive.
1. Most of the prominent features (Olympus Mons, Valles Marineris, etc) were most likely carved out by enormous electrical discharges on a planetary scale
2. Assuming that #1 is true, does not exclude the possibility that before Mars surface was catastrophically transformed, it's previous incarnation may have possessed oceans and/or lakes and rivers and in general a more Earthlike environment...and life, in some form of complexity.
Good point. The images
from Mars that appear to show features cut by flowing water come from all over Mars. I firmly believe that through some catastrophic mechanism Mars lost it's northern hemispheric crust at some point in the past (my favoured hypothesis would be an exploding double layer). It seems to me that most of the "water features" on Mars were formed after it's catastrophic disruption, possibly after wobbling too close to Jupiter and getting zapped
. I reckon a close pass by Jupiter is what cost Mars it's Northern crust too!
In the past, when astronomers looked at Mars through their telescopes, they saw straight lines that they figured were channels carrying water, Schiaparelli called them canali and it was translated in the West as canals. Later observations failed to reveal these features and Schiaparelli's canalis were thought to be due to an optical illusion. Could it be possible that dust storms had started to obscure channels, cut by electrical discharge, to the extent that they were hidden until robotic exploration of Mars revealed them once again?
I'd love for one of the Mars probes to find evidence of life. Unfortunately, most of them are sent to the Northern hemisphere, and I don't think that's the original surface they are rolling about on. Cydonia
is in the northern hemispheric depression.