Discovery of a giant volcano on the red planet Discovery of a giant volcano on the red planet

Discovery of a giant volcano on the red planet

Discovery of a giant volcano on the red planet

A new study has revealed a huge Martian volcano that was previously unnoticed despite its size, hiding for decades.

The volcano is located in a maze-like terrain in the eastern part of the Tharsis volcanic plateau near the Martian equator, along with a possible ice layer at its base, scientists revealed at the 55th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference held in Texas on Wednesday.

The scientists stated: “Its discovery indicates an exciting new place to search for life, and a potential destination for future robotic and human exploration.”

The Tharsis region is famous for its volcanic activity, and hosts the known massive volcanoes Askrios Mons, Pavonis Mons, and Arsia Mons.

Scientists gave the recently discovered volcano the temporary name Noctis. This massive volcano is estimated to be 9,022 meters (29,600 feet) high and 450 km (280 miles) wide. For comparison, the height of Mount Everest, the tallest mountain on Earth, is about 9 km or 8,848 meters above sea level.

This massive volcano has gone unnoticed due to its history of severe erosion, which has transformed it beyond recognition. 

The new observations were made using satellite image data, including NASA's Mariner 9, Viking Orbiter 1 and 2, Mars Global Surveyor, Mars Odyssey and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter missions.

According to a press release, the volcano's massive size and complex geological features indicate that it "has been active for a very long time."

Interestingly, the data indicate the presence of a thin layer of modern volcanic deposits at the base of the southeastern region. The team suggests that this layer may hide the remains of buried frozen ice.

“We were examining the geology of the area where we found the remains of a glacier last year when we realized we were inside a massive volcano,” said Pascal Lee, a planetary scientist at the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) and Mars Institute, based at NASA's Ames Research Center in the United States. "It is severely corroded."

Several signs indicated the volcanic nature of this mysterious structure, such as high plateaus forming an arc, the remains of a central caldera, lava flows, and lava deposits, all of which indicate a long history of volcanic activity.

The analysis also showed signs of lava flows. There are also lava deposits, which consist of volcanic debris including ash, pumice, and tephra that are released during explosive volcanic eruptions.

Furthermore, moist mineral deposits were discovered in several locations within the perimeter of the structure.

Saurabh Shubham, a graduate student in the Department of Geology at the University of Maryland and co-author of the study, explained: “This region of Mars is known to contain a wide range of hydrated minerals covering a long period of Martian history. The existence of a volcanic environment for this region has long been suspected.” "Minerals. So, it might not be too surprising to find a volcano here."


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