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Planetary scientists at Johns Hopkins University in the US revealed the cause of the formation of the geological structure of the Medusae Fossae, the origin of which was previously unclear to scientists. According to the findings of researchers, formation was the result of catastrophic eruptions that also led to the emergence of bodies of water and perhaps life. Article with the results of scientific work published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets.
The Medusae Fossae formation is a massive geological formation, made of soft eroded rocks, located near the equator of the planet and stretches for eight thousand kilometers. Part of the formation has a sleek and wavy, but in some areas are valleys and ridges. According to radar data, the Medusae Fossae contain porous rocks (e.g., volcanic ash), as well as glacial deposits, the amount of which is comparable with the South polar cap of Mars.
In the new work, scientists analyzed gravity data from satellites. When gravity measured by the gravity field, which allowed to determine the density of rocks of the formation. It turned out that they are only two-thirds as dense as the rest of the crust. This is due to the extraordinary porosity of the sediments indicate that they have an explosive volcanic origin.
Thus, it was demonstrated that formation was formed over three billion years ago during catastrophic volcanic eruptions. Ash emitted into the atmosphere, deposited on the surface, gathering at the foot of the hills. He eventually cure under, becoming part of the formation, and half breeds were destroyed as a result of erosion that created the diverse elements of the relief.
Medusae Fossae 100 times more massive than the largest of such formations in the world, making it the largest Deposit, formed in the result of explosive volcanic activity, known in the Solar system.
Researchers believe that during massive eruptions that led to the formation in the atmosphere of the red planet has been thrown a huge amount of water sufficient for the emergence of global water cover with a thickness of more than nine inches. Greenhouse gases warmed the surface of Mars, making it suitable for the existence of liquid bodies of water and primitive living organisms.
Video, photo All from Russia.