Images transmitted by the MRO (Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter) and interpreted by researchers from University College and Imperial College in London show ancient equatorial lakes and even more, since they show channels between lakes at different altitudes. The theory is that 3 million years ago, intense volcanic activity during a cold period thickened the atmosphere which caused a temporary global warming
which melted ice trapped in the ground. This caused the ground to collapse and formed the lakes. Then the water flowed creating the channels. Their point of reference is the Arctic lakes on Earth formed by melted permafrost which are connected by similar channels.
HG Wells would be disappointed.