A megatsunami on Mars caused by a meteorite of the kind that exterminated our dinosaurs

Nearly 3.5 billion years ago, a huge asteroid crashed into Mars. Like the one that crashed much later on Earth, exterminating the dinosaurs, it would have generated a megatsunami.

The Chicxulub crater, in the Yucatan Peninsula (Mexico), corresponds to the trace left on our Earth by the asteroid which caused the extinction of the dinosaurs approximately 66 million years ago. It measures about 180 kilometers in diameter. A little more than that of researchers from Planetary Science Institute (United States) have just identified on the surface of Mars. A crater they called “Pohl” and which could well tell a unique story.

With a diameter of 110 kilometers, it is located in an area of ​​the red planet, the so-called northern lowlands, which, according to previous studies, was covered by a vast ocean in the past. According to the researchers’ analyses, the Pohl crater was formed 3.4 billion years ago. After the fall on Mars of an asteroid with a diameter between 3 – if the resistance to the ground was weak – and 9 kilometers – if the resistance to the ground was strong. This is barely less than the diameter of the asteroid responsible for the disappearance of the dinosaurs.

A colossal energy released

In the first case, the energy released could have been of the order of that released by 0.5 million megatons of TNT. And in the second case, even of the order of that released by 13 million megatons of TNT. It’s colossal. To get an idea, know that the Tsar Bomba, the nuclear bomb the most powerful ever tested, is reputed to release an energy of the order of that released by 57 megatons of TNT.

Was the damage on Mars similar to that on Earth when the dinosaurs died out? What the simulations show, in any case, is that the impact could have generated megatsunamis which would have reached no less than 1,500 kilometers around. With waves that could have risen up to about 250 meters. A (…)

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