Nature Astronomy: Volcanoes on Mars went extinct 3.5 billion years ago

Planetologists have found out when tectonic activity stopped on Mars and volcanoes stopped erupting


02/13/2024 09:01

Tectonic activity with volcanic eruptions and marsquakes ceased on Mars more than 3.5 billion years ago. Scientists came to these conclusions and shared them on the pages of Nature Astronomy.

Chinese and American planetary scientists have carefully studied Eridania, an area of ​​the red planet where it is believed that in ancient times there was a huge lake or small sea. They used photos and data obtained from the Mars Global Surveyor, Mars Odyssey and MRO probes.

Astronomers have found 63 traces of volcanic activity – calderas, domes, stratovolcanoes, pyroclastic shields – but believe there may be hundreds of them in the region. In addition, as was previously known, the crust on the territory of Eridania is thinner and contains more magnetized rocks.

“We discovered a large number of relief features on the territory of Eridania, which indicate that this region of Mars is a zone where the rocks of the planet’s crust, which actively interacted with water, sank into its depths. In this respect, Mars was very similar to the ancient Earth of times Archean era, when plate tectonics had not yet started,” the article says.

At the same time, half of the surface of Mars is over 3.5 billion years old, and 70% is older than 3 billion years. This obviously indicates that the violent tectonic activity of the red planet is a thing of the distant past.

Author Sergey Kobin

Sergey Kobin – journalist, correspondent for the Pravda.Ru news service

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