An Eruption of Massive Mars Volcano Lasted 2 Billion Years

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An Eruption in Massive Mars Volcano Lasted 2 Billion Years
PHOTOGRAPH: WikiImages/Pixabay | Mars taken by Viking Lander 1 on February 11, 1978.

There is so much to discover about the Red Planet that makes earthlings are so determined to go there and explore. As no human has been to Mars yet, whatever object from the planet researchers can get their hands to is considered valuable in getting to know more about it like, for instance, a meteorite that revealed a Mars volcano erupted non-stop for 2 billion years.

If there are any notable similarities between Earth and Mars, it would be because they both host quite a number of volcanoes. But Mars is long known to have many of our solar system’s most magnificent volcanoes including the largest called Olympus Mon.

Aside from the Martian volcanoes’ gigantic sizes in comparison to our home planet’s, their volcanoes also erupt for a much longer time. Recently, scientists revealed their discovery of a Mars volcano that erupted for 2 billion years thanks to the analysis of a meteorite from the planet.

Eruptions Transcending Years

The findings published in the journal Science Advances showed that a meteorite from Mars called Northwest Africa (NWA) 7635 by the scientists, was found in Algeria in 2012. While it is small enough to fit the palm of the hand and weighs 0.2 kilograms, it comes with some large information waiting to be unearthed.

The analysis of the meteorite showed that the NWA 7635 is grouped with 10 other meteorites out of 100, dated at 500 million years old, originating from Mars. In total, there are 11 groups of these meteorites (NWA 7635 included) and they are discovered to having been exposed to cosmic rays for 1.1 million years.

Moreover, it is found that the age gap of NWA 7635 and the other 10 meteorites found in the same group led scientists to conclude that one particular volcano in Mars has been erupting for a period of 2 billion years. According to Dr. Mark Caffee, a professor of physics and astronomy at Purdue University and a co-author of the research, says for the mentioned time span, there has been a “steady plume of magma in one location on the surface of Mars.”

Getting to Know the Red Planet

The formation itself of the Martian volcanoes are fascinating, much more their eruptions. Researchers believed the planet has cooled down at some point in time, freezing the tectonic plate formation.

With that, no interruptions can halt the volcanoes’ eruption that can go on and on because of the absence of geological movement. This is one of the many factors that make Mars’ topography different from Earth’s.

These meteorites that had a long journey to get to Earth bring with them many insights about the planet where they came from. That is why even though mankind has not yet stepped on Mars, we are able to fascinatingly study a part of the planet’s surface and its geology, like the 2-billion-year-erupting Mars volcano.


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