How Volcano Eruptions on Mars Blocked the Sun

astronomy

When A Volcano erupted long ago on Mars, it created an ice barrier that covered the equator and caused massive global temperature drops

Mars Planet Close Up
Mars Planet Close Up (click here for original source image)

But, also started to dry up the planets continental crust. The planet kept on getting colder for several million years, until a big asteroid strike brought the planet back into a warmer climate. This led to the start of the Ice Age, which experts believe may have been triggered by a volcano eruption long time before. One of the many theories about how this happened is due to the way the planet kept on getting colder as the it came closer to the sun.

The ice sheets would have provided enough heat for the planet to warm up, but without the ice sheets, it would have been much colder than today.

The next time you hear someone ask how volcano eruptions on Mars blocked out the Sun, chances are it was chalked up to myth. The consensus was that no volcano on the Red Planet erupted for millions of years before the Ice Age. and that one thing that did cause an ice age though, was the Moon. When the Red Planet was becoming closer to the Sun, it spun faster, and the resulting gravitational pull may have blocked out the Sun. The slowing of the planet meant that the amount of gas created from volcanic activity was cut down. In turn, it made the planet a little colder, and it spun even faster, getting closer to the red planet in just a few million years.

The amount of time that lava on Earth takes to form depends on the kind of composition. While some lava takes millions of years to build, others can form very quickly. If you have ever noticed that some areas on Earth have more volcanic activity than others, it could be because they have more pure lava, which formed sooner and quicker than other places. Perhaps there were many volcanic eruptions around that time, and you just didn’t notice them.

How did volcano eruptions on Mars blocked out the Sun? The Red Planet may have had fewer volcano eruptions than Earth in its early days, but it never completely got over the devastation of the Grand Trupt Cycle. The poles were literally obliterated, and the only remaining habitable place on Mars was the equator. The sun, unable to heat the Martian surface, simply got to freeze at that point.

When lava first forms on the Martian soil, the outer layers are relatively cool. As the red planet spirals toward the Sun, its temperature increases, and these warmer layers are what heat up the equator, where volcanoes usually erupt.When liquid magma makes it to the planet’s surface, the Sun’s warmth is readily absorbed. In fact, the planet may have had some eruptions with much larger eruptions than those mentioned above, and even as powerful as the ones we now know of on Earth. The biggest recorded impact coming from a volcano on the island of El Chyrially, in the Mediterranean Sea. This one was so powerful that it registered as a solar flare – powerful enough to place an entire orbit around it.

Today, there are some research teams exploring how volcanoes on Earth and in space can affect the growth of life and the development of habitability on Mars. And there are some interesting possibilities here. Perhaps future volcanic activity could allow microbes to colonize the Red Planet, as has been proposed. This is currently the subject of much research, especially due to the extreme climate on Mars and the limited amount of water available. As with all research, though, it is still very early days, and we don’t have any idea how volcanoes on Earth and in space will interact with each other and how they might affect future human explorations.

It remains to be seen if future spaceships will be able to colonize large volcanic areas and send astronauts to study them.

Volcanoes on Mars – Craters & Volcanoes on Earth

Mars and Earth
Mars and Earth (click here for original source image)

Mars is relatively close to the Sun and the solar system, which lead to a very high concentration of ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the planet. This causes the surface of Mars to develop a thick layer of UV protected material around volcanic areas. When this occurs, it causes the surface to “grow” volcanoes – or more appropriately, erupting lava – in an almost uncontrollable fashion. Volcanoes on Mars are spectacular because of their coloration, their effects, and the lava that flows from them.

There is a slight chance that an eruption on Mars could still occur. It is possible that there could be a minor eruption on Mars in the future, which would cause a series of small impact craters. However, it is also possible that a major eruption would occur in billions of years from the solar system. Whether or not such an event would happen would depend largely on how the current orbit around the planet operates, and how the surface gravity would function in that orbit.

If there was another large eruption on Mars, it would likely affect the planet’s climate again, causing massive devastation. One possibility is a global catastrophe, much like the eruption at the erupting volcano at Krakow in Poland in 2021. If there were a massive eruption, there could be catastrophic flooding as well as mud slides and severe erosion. It is possible that the flows of mud and other material from the volcano could reach the equator and spread into the ocean, which could completely devastate the planet.

Such an event would not only devastate the surface of Mars, but it could also impact the Earth as well.

The frequency of red planet eruptions has led scientists to speculate that the red planet is experiencing an “ecology” process. Like us, they believe, there is a balance of life on the planet that allows volcanic activity to take place. Volcanoes on Mars could be a tool in this ecology, allowing a feedback loop to maintain a balance between the climate and the effects of volcanic eruptions. The reddish hue of the northern part of the planet supports this theory.

There is some evidence of past volcanic activity on Mars. One region on Mars, called Aeolis Dunes, contains many rocks with a texture suggestive of ancient volcanic activity. Another area, called the Tharsis region, is believed to have once been an ancient volcano. Either way, it is thought that there has been enough time for significant volcanic activity to have taken place to allow the veins and flows of water on the surface to form. These water deposits may act as a source of nourishment for microbial life, or else they may act as a source of groundwater to wash away the sedimentary rock layers that once covered the volcanoes.

Although the existence of active volcanoes on Mars is questionable today, geologists have theorized that there may be such occurrences on the surface of the Red Planet. Evidence of past lava flows can be found in the form of scarps, cliffs and gullies which could have resulted from past volcanic activity. In addition, Mars does have some other interesting natural resources that could act as a source of volcanic material and craters. A recent study by University College London concluded that there is a significant correlation between mineral abundance and the occurrence of surface craters on Mars.

It is also possible that some of the volcanic material on the surface of Mars is being eroded away at an ever-increasing rate.

Provided by Antonio Westley


Disclaimer: This article is meant to be seen as an overview of this subject and not a reflection of viewpoints or opinions as nothing is definitive. So, make sure to do your research and feel free to use this information at your own discretion.



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