The latest research has shown that although Mars had a much higher volcanic activity than previously believed, the Red Planet’s giant volcano was nonetheless quite slow to grow. This new study claims that the Martian volcanoes rose at a rate some 1,000 times lower than Earth’s similar formations.
Research detected that, unlike on Earth, the Red Planet does not have any tectonic plates. In contrast, it appears to have a “stagnant lid”, which is an outer crust that never changes its position.
However, Mars was still noted to have magma plumes, which get pushed from deep within the planet’s mantle. These are capable of rupturing the crust and then erupting and depositing layers of lava and other volcanic ejects.
As such, these magma plumes could well be catalysts for the creation of a volcanic mountain, which will likely continue growing as the rupture and its deposits remain in the same relationship. In some cases, this can reportedly last up to billions of years.
The Giant Volcano on Mars Took Millions To Rise?
Mars is known for hosting the oldest and largest known volcano in the Solar System, but there is still much left to find out about its volcanic structures.
The scientists behind this new research decided to take a closer look at it by studying nakhilites, which are a group of meteorites. They are believed to be the results of a long-lived, single volcano.
Earth currently hosts a group of 18 nakhilitees. These are believed to have gradually landed on Earth after a massive object slammed into one of Mars’s volcanoes some 10.7 million years ago.
The nakhilites were noted to mostly contain basalt, combined with volcanic glass, and feldspar, among others. Using argon-based heating and laser step-heating, the study team was able to estimate when they were created.
“The data show that the nakhilites were not all formed during a single cooling event, but instead reveal a protracted volcanic eruption history on Mars,” say the scientists.
Based on this, the research team concluded that this giant volcano on Mars took more than 93 million years to rise. It also seems to have been the result of four different eruptions.
These latest findings are detailed in a paper in the journal Nature Communications.
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