Recent research has shown that Mars was marked by a series of super volcanic eruptions about 4 billion years ago. At that time, the Red Planet would have been very different from what it is today, due to the dust and toxic gases it emitted. The red planet we know today would have been smoother, probably more hospitable, due to the impacts these elements had on its atmosphere.
This series of powerful and explosive super volcanic eruptions is said to have developed over a period of approximately 500 million years.
Image by OpenClipart-vectors from Pixabay
These would be 1,000 to 2,000. The researchers who made the discovery used data obtained from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter compact imaging spectrometer for Mars (CRISM).
The results of the study were published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. The team hopes that these data will pave the way for future research on the history of the Red Planet.
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Thousands of super eruptions in Arabia Terra?
Note that there is a difference between a simple eruption and a super volcanic eruption. Super eruptions are the most powerful of all known volcanic eruptions. They are magnitude eight. This is the highest scale of the explosive index of volcanoes. Such an event projects more than 1,000 cubic kilometers of material into the atmosphere and thousands of kilometers around it.
What particularly puzzles the researchers is that instead of occurring in different locations as current models predict, these super eruptions took place in a specific region. This is a Martian territory called Arabia Terra. It is of interest to researchers because it is characterized by what a priori appears as impact craters.
However, studies have suggested that they are more like boilers. These are depressions that remain after a supervolcano blew up its chimney. When the magma is evacuated, the rock above it is no longer supported and collapses into a kind of abyss.
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Significant changes in the Martian climate?
Each of these eruptions would have significantly impacted the Red Planet’s climate and atmosphere. According to Patrick Whelley of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, the released gas likely thickened the atmosphere or blocked the Sun and cooled the atmosphere.
“People will read our article and say to themselves: ‘How? How could Mars have done this? How can such a small planet melt enough rock to fuel thousands of super eruptions in one place? “I hope these questions lead to a lot more research. “
Jacob Richardson of NASA Goddard