Mars is alive? U.S. study: Active mantle columns may exist underground – INSIDE

Compared with the frequent plate movements that occur on the Earth every day, and the surface of the planet changes accordingly, there is no plate tectonics on Mars. In the past, scientists often regarded Mars as a “dead” planet. However, according to the University of ArizonaPublished a few days agoStudies have shown that there may be unimaginably active geology on Mars at present, and it is believed that there may be a Mantle plume that will push the crust upward.

Mars is famous for Olympus Mons, the tallest known mountain in the solar system. This huge Shield Volcano (Shield Volcano) is 21,229 meters above sea level. Like other volcanoes on Mars, it is active in an older age. In the past, Mars was thought to be geologically inactive.

University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory (LPLLunar & Planetary Laboratory) associate professor of planetary science and co-author of the paper, Jeff Andrews-Hanna said, “The general view is that Mars was most active 3 to 4 billion years ago, and Mars today is essentially a ‘dead star’. “.

InSight’s Discovery and “Firequake”

However, with the successful landing of NASA’s “InSight” on Mars in 2018, the main purpose is to study Mars’ deep geology. Elysium Planitia (Elysium Planitiaplainour understanding of this planet has gained a deeper understanding.

Research extends across Mars’ northern hemisphereErythionplainFinding evidence of geological activity left in very recent times, unlike other regions of Mars that have had no significant activity for billions of years, researchers believe that in the past 200 million years, ElysiumLarge-scale eruptions have occurred on the plain.The LPL team that Andrews-Hanna participated in also hadpublished researchfinding evidence of a small eruption in the region.

Andrews-Hanna explained, “Our team used to beErythionPlains found evidence of the youngest known volcanic eruption on Mars, about 53,000 years ago, which is geologically equivalent to yesterday.”

The most recent eruption, which occurred inErythionA huge 1,300-kilometer-long crack on the plain called the “Cerberus Fossae” (Cerberus Fossae). According to LPL, the InSight team, equipped with seismometers, found that nearly all of the “Marsquakes” detected on Mars occurred in Keroo. Bellows Graben. Although this evidence is sufficient to suggest that Mars’ current geology may be active, the underlying causes of volcanic and tectonic activity remain unknown.

Di Hanzhu, is that you?

As far as the earth is concerned, volcanic activity and earthquakes are often related to mantle pillars.In particular, there is no plate movement on Mars at present, so the authors of the paper, Broquet and Andrews-Hanna, began to analyzeErythionThe terrain and gravity field characteristics of the plain, and the results suggest that there may be mantle columns under the plain.

from Marsrising deep underground, andErythionmantle columnschematic diagram. The center where many fissures gather is the Kerubellos Graben. Artist’s rendering of the Mars Rover InSight at the end of the Graben.

Photo Credit: Adrien Broquet & Audrey Lasbordes

As shown, the mantle column is a thin column leading directly to the mantle, containing an upwelling hot column, and a descending cold column. LPL shows that the northern hemisphere of Mars is mostly extended lowlands, but in theErythionThe surface uplift in this area of ​​the plain is one of the areas with the highest elevation among the lowlands in the northern hemisphere. The uplifted surface is derived from the internal support of Mars. After analyzing the gravity field, the result is consistent with the existence of mantle columns. In addition, judging from the inclination of the bottom of the crater here, it also seems to be formed after being impacted, and the inclination occurred due to the uplift of the surface, which partly supports the hypothesis of the existence of mantle columns.

The team said that if the geophysical model is used to analyze, it is only possible to form a huge mantle column with a width of 4,000 kilometers that is enough to form the Ruberos Graben. As a result, NASA’s InSight landed on what should have been a flat area representative of the lowlands of Mars, but actually landed on top of an active mantle pillar, so these seismic records must be considered, Broquet said. Information that differs greatly from the nature of other regions of Mars. “The extant active mantle pillars represent a paradigm shift for understanding the geological evolution of Mars.”

And the existence of the mantle pillars also has the opportunity to affect the possibility of living beings. There is currently no liquid water flowing on the surface of Mars, only water ice exists below the surface, but scientists believe that the Ruberos Graben has recently (“recently” in the geological sense) flooded. Its significance is not only that the heat of the mantle pillars melts the ice and causes floods, but also contains the possibility that the mantle pillars support the hidden life in the deep underground of Mars.

Andrews-Hanna said that the findings of this achievement only stop at explaining the activities of earthquakes and volcanoes, but “we are sure that there must be even greater surprises waiting for us in the future.”

Said sectionpaperPublished in the December 5 issue of nature astronomy.

Review Editor: Mia

Join as an INSIDE member and enjoy the most exciting daily trend e-newsletter of INSIDE exclusively, and there will be exclusive content for members in the future. Click to become a member now

Further reading:

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.