A volcano with an altitude of 9000 meters discovered on Mars

An incredible volcano on Mars

Like the Moon, Jupiter and Venus, Mars still holds some secrets for astrophysicists. The proof is this rather incredible discovery of a huge volcano. Incredible because this discovery was under the nose of experts for half a century!

Located in the eastern part of the Tharsis volcanic region on Mars, near the planetary equator, this volcano is close to three other known giant volcanoes: Ascraeus Mons, Pavonis Mons, and Arsia Mons. Although more eroded and shorter than these giants despite an altitude above 9000 m, this new volcano on the other hand rivals the others in diameter with 450 km wide at the base.

Water hidden at the foot?

The SETI Institute discovered its existence during the 55th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, currently taking place in Texas, and we learned that the discovery was almost accidental. “We were investigating the geology of the area where we found the remains of the glacier last year when we realized we were inside a huge, deeply eroded volcano,” explains Pascal Lee, a planetary scientist at the SETI Institute and the Mars Institute.

Described as “groundbreaking”, the presence of ice buried under this volcanic deposit is clearly a possible sign of past life, and NASA and competing space agencies will not fail to put robots there to study it, why not extract it. water, essential for future manned missions.

Minerals, indicators of volcanic activity

As for the volcanoes, several clues reveal the volcanic nature of the stacks of layered mountains and canyons in this eastern part of Noctis Labyrinthus. The central area of ​​the peak is marked by several plateaus formed by the remnants of the volcanic flow. Raised, they form an arc, reaching the regional peak and descending from the peak area. The gentle outer slopes stretch up to 225 kilometers in different directions.

“This region of Mars is known to contain a wide variety of hydrated minerals spanning a long period of Martian history. It has long been suspected that these minerals are in a volcanic environment. So it may not be surprising to find a volcano here,” admits Sourabh Shubham, co-author of the study. “In a sense, this large volcano is the long-sought 'gun'.”

In addition to the volcano, the study reports the discovery of a large area of ​​5,000 square kilometers of volcanic deposits within the volcanic perimeter that show a large number of low, rounded and elongated bubble-like mounds. It is clear that this thin layer of recent volcanic deposits indicates the possible presence of ice below the surface.

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