One reason researchers have long believed that Mars never enjoyed an extensive period of warm and wet climate is that much of the surface not covered by wind-borne dust appear to be composed of unweathered material. If water flowed for an extended period, researchers reasoned, it should have altered and weathered the volcanic minerals, creating clays or other oxidized, hydrated phases (minerals that incorporate water molecules in their crystal structure). It turns out, though, that the scientists were not looking closely enough. New high-resolution mapping data and close-up surface studies have revealed clays and other hydrated minerals in many regions. The clay deposits are scattered all over, in ancient volcanic surfaces and heavily cratered highland regions, some of which have apparently been exposed by erosion only recently.