Mars Might Have Underground Volcanism, According To A New Study

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While a study conducted last year concluded that there is liquid water underneath the Red Planet’s southern pole, new research carried out by scientists at the University of Arizona and issued in Geophysical Research Letters journal suggests that Mars might have underground volcanism. That volcanic activity on Mars would be the heat source for the liquid water beneath the planet’s southern pole to exist.

However, this recent study is not focusing on proving whether there is liquid water inside Mars or not, but it centered on the possible magmatic activity that might have taken place on the Red Planet over the past few hundred thousand years. The scientists indicated that such underground volcanism has to take place on Mars to serve as a heat source for the liquid water to exists underneath the south pole of the planet.

“Different people may go different ways with this, and we’re really interested to see how the community reacts to it,” said Michael Sori from the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory at the University of Arizona, and the co-lead author of the new study.

Mars Might Have Underground Volcanism

The new study suggests that the Red Planet is an active planet geologically speaking and that liquid water might indeed be present beneath the Mars southern pole as long as there is geological activity in the planet’s undergrounds to serve as a heat source for the ice water to become and maintain fluid. If indeed correct, that might have huge implications on the possibility of finding life on Mars.

“We think that if there is any life, it likely has to be protected in the subsurface from the radiation. If there are still magmatic processes active today, maybe they were more common in the recent past and could supply more widespread basal melting. This could provide a more favorable environment for liquid water and thus, perhaps, life,” explained Ali Bramson, also from the University of Arizona, one of the study’s authors.

The new study, in short, simulated the possibility of volcanic activity on Mars. It turned out that if there has been underground volcanism a few hundred of thousands of years ago, it might also be active today. That implies a higher possibility for liquid water to exist underneath Mars southern pole.


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