A new scientific report regarding Mars identified a volcanic eruption lasting 2 billion years.
An unusual meteorite sparked this discovery. “The 6.9 oz meteorite, labeled Northwest Africa by an international team of scientists,” according to a Purdue University, contained evidence of exposure to cosmic rays and magma-formation evidence that leads reachers to conclude that “Mars had a single volcano that erupted continuously for more than 2 billion years.”
An impact of some kind caused this little meteor and 10 others to be dislodged from the surface of Mars and released into the atmosphere.
What an astonishing find.
The 4.5 billion-year-old meteorite was about twice as old as the others that made the same journey opening up a whole new chapter in what we know about Mars.
“Even though we’ve never had astronauts walk on Mars, we still have pieces of the Martian surface to study, thanks to these meteorites,” Mark Caffee, co-author of the Purdue team’s study told USA Today.
Mars is home to the largest volcano in our solar system, Olympus Mons. The formation is 17 miles tall, leading some scientists to speculate that the palm-size small meteorite found in Algeria in 2012 may have come from Olympus Mons. There are no conclusions thus far regarding that possibility, but the meteorite revealed evidence of its age, magma type, time in space and how long it’s been on earth.
This information gathered from the 6.5 oz meteor indicates that some of the oldest volcanos in our solar system can be found on Mars, the red planet.
Every year about 1,000 meteors are found in Antarctica and portions of North Africa.
Only a small number of them are actually noteworthy. These mostly come from Mars and the moon, according to Caffee. The unusual ones are sent to NASA, the others to the Smithsonian.
“These meteorites are allowing us to conduct geologic science on the surface of Mars,” Caffee said, “and we haven’t even been there yet.”