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Mars suffered an asteroid catastrophe similar to the one that wiped out the dinosaurs on Earth, studies suggest

Mars suffered an asteroid catastrophe similar to the one that wiped out the dinosaurs on Earth, studies suggest
Mars suffered an asteroid catastrophe similar to the one that wiped out the dinosaurs on Earth, studies suggest

A killer wave more than 80 stories high may have hit Mars after a cosmic impact with an asteroid, something very similar to what happened to Earth at the time of the dinosaurs (which were decimated).

Crater on Mars may answer many questions (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona)

Red planet may have suffered from megatsunami

Even though the surface of Mars is now dry and without water, studies show that a large amount of water already covered the surface of the Red Planet billions of years ago.

Research has pointed out that two meteor “attacks” may have caused megatsunamis to occur 3.4 billion years ago.

The oldest one flooded around 800,000 square kilometers and the most recent one drowned 1 million square kilometers.

In 2019, a study uncovered what may have been the youngest ground zero, and created the 120km-wide Lomonosov Crater on the Arctic ice surface of Mars. And now, scientists have pinpointed what could be ground zero for another megatsunami: the 111 km wide Pohl Crater.

The size of the hole suggests that the impact was gigantic, similar to a 10 km wide asteroid that hit the region of Mexico 66 million years ago – which caused the extermination of dinosaurs and another 75% of Earth’s species at that time.

Researchers have discovered novelties on the surface of Mars

Scientists expected to find streamlined islands eroded by flowing water that likely passed through them, but instead found a plain littered with boulders.

Now, studies suggest that the debris is remnants of a megatsunami that passed through there at some point. This giant wave of water carried pulverized rock far away from the impact site.

Alexis Rodriguez, planetary scientist at the Planetary Science Institute in Arizona, said:

“The sea floor would have been thrown into the air, feeding the wave with sediment and likely aiding in the development of a catastrophic debris flow front.”

Using the combination of data and maps, scientists were able to develop new hypotheses.

“The ocean is thought to have formed due to catastrophic flooding released from aquifers. So my initial approach to looking for a megatsunami-triggering impact was to look for a crater under the frozen ocean residue and above the channels that discharged the floodwaters that formed the ocean.”

In addition, it was pointed out that the Pohl Crater met this criterion, being identified as the original place of these oceans.

With information: Nature, Space.

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The article is in Portuguese

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