Research

Planetologists have clarified when the oceans could appear on Mars

According to the findings of planetary scientists from CaliforniaUniversity of Berkeley, published in the journal Nature, the first oceans on Mars appeared about 4 billion years ago and 200-300 million years earlier than was commonly believed.

"Scientists have always believed that the Farsid Plateau,the largest volcanic terrain on Mars originated before the oceans of Mars were born, approximately 3.7 billion years ago. We found out that the oceans either originated with it, or appeared even earlier, ”commented Michael Manga, a geologist at the University of California at Berkeley.

In recent years, active research RedPlanetologists have discovered many hints that rivers, lakes and even whole oceans of water existed on ancient Mars, containing almost as much liquid as our earthly Arctic Ocean. However, not everyone agrees with these conclusions. Some scientists believe that even in antiquity Mars could be too cold for the permanent existence of the oceans, and if water existed in liquid form on the planet, it was only during times of volcanic eruptions.

Recent observations of Mars using ground-basedtelescopes showed that over the past 3.7 billion years, Mars has lost so much water that it would be enough to cover the entire surface of the planet with an ocean 140 meters thick. Where did this water go? Scientists do not yet know the answer, so today they are trying to find out by studying the ancient Martian meteorites that have fallen to us on Earth.

By studying the structure of the coastline of the intendedThe ocean of the Red Planet, which covered most of its northern hemisphere in the distant past, Manga and his colleagues discovered that the oceans appeared on Mars 200-300 million years earlier than was stated in the findings of earlier scientific studies.

Mars is now (left) and how he could look in the past (right)

According to Mang, many planetologists doubtthe very existence of this structure, since parts of the bottom of this ocean are located in "wrong" places where water had to flow upwards to cover its entire area. In addition, regions that look too deep and others, on the contrary, too small, are made to doubt in order to constitute a single body of water with a general water level.

California geologists have found an explanation for this,analyzing how the formation of the Farsid volcanic plateau could affect the birth and evolution of the Martian oceans, and also drawing attention to one recently discovered fact associated with this largest geological structure of Mars.

Exploring the plateau and the adjacent northernthe plains, where the ocean of Mars was supposedly once located, scientists noticed that many of the relief features associated with its coastline looked older than Farsida itself and its associated volcanoes. This prompted them to the idea that this structure was not born before, but after the formation of the oceans of Mars.

Guided by this idea, scientists comparedhow the coastline of these reservoirs changed, with how Farsis grew rapidly over about half a billion years after its formation. This comparison, in an unexpected way, showed that virtually all distortions and oddities in the coastline were related to how the ocean floor deformed under the influence of growing volcanoes.

By eliminating all of these factors, scientists found thatThe Arabian plain of Mars, representing the most ancient part of the bottom of its oceans, arose even before the formation of Farsis, hundreds of millions of years before the estimated time of the appearance of the oceans of the Red Planet.

Calculations showed that the Arabian Ocean containedimagine about three percent of the total water contained in the oceans on Earth. In other words, it was about twice as large as the modern Arctic Ocean, and contained more water than the polar caps of the Earth. Scientists believe that it became liquid due to the heat and greenhouse gases that were produced by volcanoes, including the future Farsid.

In subsequent periods, the area and volume of this reservoirconstantly changing with the growth of Pharsis, which gave rise to strange features in the coastline of the northern ocean of Mars and made it much deeper than it was originally. Scientists hope that the seismographs of the new Insight lander, which will go to Mars in May, will help verify their theory.

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