Mars has experienced thousands of ‘super explosions’ from giant, ancient volcanoes in its lifetime, NASA has confirmed.
Scientists previously thought that the number of giant craters in the Martian surface was due to asteroids, but the impacts were not perfectly round – as would be expected by craters – but rather deep floors and benches of rock near the walls, which collapsed. was indicating.
A region north of the Red Planet, called Arabia Terra, was the source of some of the most violent volcanic eruptions ever discovered. These eruptions blew water vapor, carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide into the air over a period of 500 million years, about four billion years ago.
The researchers found evidence of ash, which is easier to find than the volcanoes themselves, and several minerals associated with altered volcanic activity.
The discovery will help scientists understand how planets and moons form, as similar processes are possible in regions of Venus, Jupiter’s moons Io and Earth’s own history.
Scientists looked for ash in the walls of canyons and craters thousands of miles from where they believed the volcanoes to have originated, due to the Martian winds, they discovered the volcanic mineral, montmorillonite. , like imagolite and allophane changed from water to soil.
However, some questions remain unanswered: How could there be only one type of volcano on Mars in that region? On Earth, scientists believe that volcanoes capable of super-eruptions like those on Mars are spread across the globe, but it is possible that they were once closer and destroyed physically and chemically.
“People are going to read our paper and go, ‘How? How could Mars do that? How could such a small planet melt enough rock to power thousands of super explosions in one place?'” he said. jacob richardson, a geologist at NASA.
The equivalent of 400 million Olympic-sized swimming pools of molten rock and gas would have erupted from the Martian core to the surface, after which the volcano collapsed due to a caldera—seven billion of which were discovered in Terra.
Each eruption would have had a huge impact on Mars’ climate, such as thickening the atmosphere or blocking the Sun’s rays and cooling the planet.
Credit: www.independent.co.uk /