This new study reveals that the tsunami was similar to the effect of an asteroid in the time of the dinosaurs on Earth.
Even if superficial Mars today is cold and dry, much evidence suggests that ocean water covered the Red Planet billions of years ago.
Previous search find signs that two meteor strikes could trigger it a couple of megatsunamis about 3.4 billion years ago.
The tsunami also flooded Mars about 309,000 square miles (800,000 square kilometers). More recently, the tsunami submerged an area of about 1 million square kilometers.
Study in 2019 find that position it could be The most recent ground zero megatsunami was Kthe Lomonosov crater, which has a 120 kilometer wide hole in the ice plains of the Martian Arctic.
Its large size indicates a cosmic impact that produced a large, scale-like hole asteroid which is 10 kilometers wide hit Chicxulub Town, Mexico 66 million years ago.
The impact of the impact on Earth itself triggered a mass extinction with 75 percent of Earth’s species wiped out, including dinosaurs.
Now a new study has found what may have been the point of origin of the old megatsunami in the 111-kilometer-wide Pohl crater for which it takes its name. International Astronomical Union.
Scientists focused on the landing site Viking 1 NASA, the first spacecraft to successfully operate on the surface of Mars. Viking 1 landed in 1976 on Chryse Planitia, a smooth plain in the northern equatorial region of Mars.
The spacecraft landed near the endpoint of a giant channel, Maja Valles, carved out by an ancient catastrophic flood, after scientists first identified the extraterrestrial landscape excavated by the river.
Instead of finding these types of flood-related features, they found plains filled with rocks.
Now researchers suspect that the rock and debris were the aftermath of a megatsunami, a giant wave that carried shattered rock from the site of the cosmic impact.
“The seafloor would have been lifted into the air, feeding the waves with sediment and perhaps aiding the development of a disastrous debris flow front,” said study leader Alexis.
Rodriguez, who is also a planetary scientist at the Planetary Science Institute in Arizona, then analyzed a map of the surface of Mars, combining images from previous missions to the planet.
This helped them identify Pohl, which is about 900 kilometers from the Viking 1 landing site in the northern region of the Mars plain.
Quoted from Live sciencethe northern lowlands of Mars are made up of large depressions, where the oceans formed and then froze about 3.4 billion years ago.
“The sea is thought to have been formed by catastrophic flooding released by groundwater. So my initial approach to looking for the trigger effects of a megatsunami is to look for craters under the frozen remnant of the oceans and above the channels that released flooding,” he said.
The researchers also said that Pohl was the only crater the scientists found that met the search criteria.
The team then simulated a cosmic impact in this region to see what kind of impact Pohl might have created. Their findings suggest that Viking 1’s landing site was “part of a megatsunami deposit about 3.4 billion years ago, according to the report.” Space.
Then, the scientists used simulations to understand the crater’s origin and Pohl-like size.
If an asteroid encountered strong ground resistance, it would need to be about 9 kilometers away with the impact releasing the energy equivalent of 13 million megatons of TNT.
But if the asteroid encounters weak ground resistance, it could be just 3 kilometers in diameter and release up to 500,000 megatons of TNT of energy.
For comparison, the most powerful nuclear bomb ever exploded, Russia’s Tsar Bomba, had a yield of 57 megatons of TNT.
Both simulated impacts resulted in a megatsunami reaching 1,500 kilometers from the impact site, more than enough to reach the Viking 1 landing site.
The waves can initially extend about 500 meters high and can reach 250 meters on land. These statistics make Pohl’s impact similar to that of Chicxulub, Mexico.
In the future, the researchers want to further investigate how the oceans of ancient Mars might have changed between the two megatsunamis to see what the potential biological effects of those changes were.
“Immediately after formation, the crater will generate an underwater hydrothermal system that will last for tens of thousands of years, providing an environment rich in energy and nutrients,” Rodriguez said in a statement.
This research is described in a card that published Thursday (December 1) in the journal Scientific Reports.