NASA confirms Mars region had thousands of ancient volcanic eruptions

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The super explosion occurred about 4 billion years ago

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NASA scientists have found evidence that thousands of massive ancient volcanoes erupted on Mars.

The so-called “super explosion” occurred in a region of northern Mars called Arabia Terra, about 4 billion years ago over a period of 500 million years.

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Researchers studying the topography and mineral composition of the area made this discovery, and published in News a paper in the journal Geophysical Research Letters in July 2021.

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“Each of these explosions would have had a significant climate effect – perhaps the released gas made the atmosphere thicker or blocked out the sun and atmosphere,” said Patrick Vallely, a geologist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center who led the Arab Terra analysis. cooled it down.” , said in a release. “Modelers of Martian climate will have to do some work to try to understand the impact of volcanoes.”

The seven calderas – huge holes created at volcanic eruption sites – were the “first gifts”.

The caldera was initially thought to be a depression from an asteroid impact, but scientists noticed in 2013 that they had signs of collapse and were not perfectly round.

“We read that paper and were interested in following it up, but instead of looking for the volcanoes themselves, we looked for ashes because you can’t hide that evidence,” Vale said.

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Working with Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory volcanologist Alexandra Mattiella Novak, the team examined surface minerals and picked up from prior work, which had calculated that ash may have fallen from a potential super eruption.

use images from Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter’s Compact Reconnaissance Imaging SpectrometerIn this study, he studied canyon and crater walls hundreds to thousands of miles from the caldera, in which volcanic minerals were converted from water to clay.

They made three-dimensional topographic maps of Arabia Terra and compared mineral data with maps to see that the ash layers are well preserved.

To determine the number of eruptions, NASA will use a calculation of how much material erupted from the volcanoes based on the volume of each caldera.

The question of how a planet can have only one type of volcano in one region remains.

“It is possible that super-eruptive volcanoes were concentrated in regions on Earth, but have been physically and chemically destroyed or moved around the world as continents shifted due to plate tectonics,” NASA said. said. “These types of eruptive volcanoes could also exist in regions of Jupiter’s moons or be clustered on Venus.”


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