Earth volcanoes vs. Mars volcanoes

How did Olympus Mons increase so big? Time.

Olympus Mons is a defend volcano, which usually means it oozes massive quantities of lava, rather than simply blowing its best in a catastrophic eruption. Earth’s greatest volcanoes are also protect volcanoes. This allows them mature slowly about time.

Having said that, Earth’s plate tectonics also unfold magma out, which keeps terrestrial volcanoes from indefinitely developing taller. Mars, on the other hand, is too modest for plate tectonics.

Olympus Mons is some 3.5 billion years old, which indicates the volcano shaped early on in Mars’ background. Astronomers suspect Olympus Mons could have stayed volcanically energetic for hundreds of thousands and thousands of decades. That’s much extended than any volcano on Earth could continue being energetic.

Clues to Mars’ local weather heritage

In a Mother nature Communications paper published in 2017, astronomers studied a loved ones of meteorites identified as nakhlites, which were all flung from Mars when an asteroid struck a volcano on the Purple Planet some 11 million yrs in the past.

The study confirmed that Mars’ volcanoes had been seeping lava at a very seriously sluggish speed: The volcano that formed the nakhlites grew 1,000 situations slower than volcanoes do on Earth. The acquiring implies that Mars’ volcanoes previous lengthier than scientists beforehand expected.

And in Olympus Mons’ case, the craters on its surface are also only all over 200 million a long time previous, which implies this volcano was energetic shockingly not too long ago, at minimum to a limited extent.

By researching Olympus Mons and other volcanoes on Mars, experts can enable unravel clues to the Red Planet’s local weather background, as well. The meteorites born from the volcano actually display symptoms of minerals that kind as h2o passes through rock, which implies water was flowing on Mars as lately as 1.3 billion a long time in the past. So, it turns out, the Pink Planet’s era of running rivers and flowing lava could possibly not have only been confined to the extremely distant past.