On Mars, there is a region that astronomers suspected to be the land of a few explosive super-volcanoes. They not only just confirm it. But still to discover that they were at the origin of thousands of violent eruptions.
In the, some volcanoes undergo eruptions of colossal power. Eruptions that release dust and gas blocking the of . With an impact on the of their host planet for decades. And it is precisely the traces of such massive eruptions that just noted in a region of northern Mars that they call Arabia Terra.
According to them, the red planet has even been the scene of thousands ofmassive over a period of 500 million years. All about four billion years ago. “Each of these eruptions could have been enough to disrupt the climate of Mars, specifies Patrick Whelley, to Goddard Space Flight Center, in a . Now modelers need to get to work trying to understand the overall impact this episode may have had. “
What caught the eye of researchers was the identification of seven structures resemblingin the region ofArabia Terra. A caldera is a flat-bottomed depression located in the heart of . The result of an eruption that emptied the . And on Mars, these depressions were considered until then as impact craters of .
Massive volcanic activity betrayed by ash
To get a clear idea of their true nature, NASA researchers set out not to search for the volcanoes that could have been at the origin, but the ashes carried by thethat their eruptions would inevitably have left behind. They identified them thanks to the spectrometer of (MRO). Then, using the cameras on board the probe, the established a 3D topographic map ofArabia Terra. A map surprisingly well following models predicting the distribution of ash on the ground for hundreds of thousands of kilometers after explosive super-eruptions.
Scientists find one area of Mars once had thousands of massive volcanoes, throwing out some “400 million Olympic-size swimming pools of molten rock and gas” .https: //t.co/nQ8KU3Eqjf
– JeremyReesnz (@JeremyReesnz) September 16, 2021
According to theFrom each caldera identified, the researchers then estimated the number of eruptions needed to produce the ash mat they observed. The equivalent of no less than 400 million Olympic rock pools in and gas first ejected into the . Result: it took several thousand eruptions over a relatively short geological time.
Researchers are now wondering about the distribution of. Other types of volcanoes have indeed already been discovered on the Red Planet. But the region ofArabia Terra seems to be the only one carrying such explosive volcanoes. On Earth, these volcanoes are scattered. Perhaps the result of traveling around the Globe with the . To be continued …