Mars is not as “dead” as previously thought

(ORDO NEWS) — Mars is generally considered to be a geologically dead planet, but a new study disproves that idea. It turned out that a giant plume of magma is making its way up through the planet’s mantle and causing seismic activity.

In four years of operation, NASA‘s InSight spacecraft has detected up to 1,300 “marsquakes”. Most of them seem to come from an area called Cerberus Fossae, which is made up of a network of crevices.

What exactly causes activity in this area is unknown, but on Earth there are usually two possibilities – plate tectonics and mantle plumes, which are large bubbles of magma rising from the depths of the planet. And since there are definitely no plate tectonics on Mars, scientists at the University of Arizona investigated whether mantle plumes could be the cause.

The team found that the surface in the region has already risen by more than a kilometer, and measurements of the gravitational field in the area indicate that it is being driven by something deep within the planet. The team applied the tectonic model to this region and found that it could not explain the observed features. The only explanation, in their opinion, is a giant mantle plume about 4,000 km wide.

The find not only challenges what we thought we knew about the formation and evolution of the Red Planet, but could also have implications for the search for life on Mars. Because the heat of magma can stimulate chemical reactions that could potentially keep microbes alive deep underground.

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