Like Earth, Mars also has numerous volcanoes. In fact, on this planet is the largest volcano of the Solar system – Olympus Mons.
Recent scientific evidence suggests that the Martian volcanoes are not only gigantic, but they really differ from those that exist on our planet during the time of their eruption.
In 2012, a rare meteorite weighing only 0.2 kilograms (7 ounces) was found in Algeria. It was called Northwest Africa (NWA) 7635, and, despite the fact that he was very small, he revealed interesting facts about the volcanoes of Mars.
After careful analysis, the tiny stone was dated 2.4 billion years ago. Of the 100 meteorites identified as originating from Mars, only 10 belonged to the same group as NWA 7635. All the rocks were dated at about half a billion years old.
In his statement, Mark Cuffy, professor of physics and astronomy at Purdue University and a member of the research team, said: “We have never seen anything like this on Earth.”
All 11 meteorites, including NWA 7635, were exposed to cosmic rays for 1.1 million years. However, the age difference between the other 10 and NWA 7635 indicated that there was a period of at least 2 billion years, when one of the volcanoes erupted.
“This means that for 2 billion years in one place on the surface of Mars formed a steady plume of magma,” explained Cuffy.
“We do not have anything like this on Earth, where something is stable for 2 billion years in a certain place.”
Although scientists can not confirm that meteorites received from Olympus Mons or another volcano, it is very likely that they did it. Olympus Mons rises 17 miles (27 km) in height and has a track the size of almost with Germany.
The fact that there are no tectonics of plates on the Earth, explains the huge size of the volcanoes on Mars.
Previously, Mars was more like the Earth, because it also had tectonic plates that were piled up one by one, forming craters and volcanoes in accordance with NASA. But, Mars has cooled down at some point in history, allowing the molten rock under the plates to harden. This, in turn, led to a halt in the formation of the tectonic plate.
Since there is currently no geological movement on this planet, eruptions continuously move around the crust. Despite the fact that scientists have never walked on the red planet, they can study its surface with the help of these meteorites.
In addition, the gravitational force on Mars is much lower. This, together with the subtle atmosphere of the planet, makes it easier for the rock fragments released during the strikes to leave the surface of the planet.
These fragments often rotate in space for hundreds of thousands, sometimes millions of years, before their journey is interrupted. Only some of them land on our planet, a process that also takes thousands of years.
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