The Martian volcano, which is half the size of France, 3.5 million years ago erupted so much lava that the weight shifted the outer layers of the Red Planet. Such findings were published in a study on Wednesday.
In other words, the source north and south poles Mars are not in the place where they were originally.
“The data obtained explain the unexpected location of dry riverbeds and underground reservoirs of water ice, as well as other Martian secrets that scientists have long confused,” said a leading researcher with AFP.
“If a similar shift occurred on Earth, then Paris would be in the Arctic,” said Sylvan Boule, a geomorphologist at the University of Paris-South.
“We would observe the northern lights in France, and grapes were grown in Sudan.”
According to a study, a volcanic coup lasting several hundred million years, tilted the surface of Mars from 20 to 25 degrees.
A lava flow created a plateau called the Tarsis Dome (Farsida Plateau), which is more than 5,000 square kilometers (2,000 square miles) wide and 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) thick on a planet with half the Earth's diameter. “The dome of Tarsis is huge, especially in relation to the size of Mars. This is a deviation from the norm, ”said Boule.
The eruption (weighing more than billions of billions of tons) was so huge that it caused the two upper layers of Mars (the crust and the mantle) to turn in the same way as the peach skin is shifted in relation to its bone.
Already in 2010, a theoretical study showed that if this dome was removed from Mars, the planet would shift from its axis.
Bouley and his team compare computer models of different scientists with their own models and observations. Many things on Mars, previously considered unexplained, suddenly make sense in the light of a new paradigm.
“Scientists could not understand why the rivers (today they are dried up beds) were located in these places. Their placement seemed arbitrary, ”said Boule.
“But if we take into account the displacement of the surface, they all line up on the same tropical strip.”
Similarly, the huge underground reservoirs of frozen ice should have been closer to the poles. Now we know that once upon a time it was so. The new theory also explains why the Tarsis dome is at the “new” equator. After all, now it is here that his place helps the planet to maintain its balance.
The results of the study, published in Nature, challenge the standard chronology, which suggests that the rivers of the Red Planet formed after the Tarsis Dome.
The researchers concluded that most of these waterways flowed from the craters of the highlands of the southern hemisphere of the Red Planet to the low plains in the north, even without massive lava fields.
“But there are still many unresolved issues,” Bouley cautioned.
“It is possible that magnetic fields cause tilt. Or maybe it contributes to the disappearance of the atmosphere of Mars or causes a stop in the flow of rivers? We only have to find answers to these questions. ”