Tsunamis Caused Impact Crater On Mars, Science Suggests

First Posted: Mar 28, 2017 05:28 AM EDT

Tsunamis are defined to be long, high sea waves that are caused by earthquakes, submarine landslides or other such disturbances. While these disturbances could happen on Mars, it is surprising to know that impact craters on the Red Planet actually came from these massive walls of moving water.

According to BBC News, a team of scientists believed that an impact crater was linked to a powerful tsunami that swept across part of the ancient planet. The 150-meter high waves that made such crater were believed to have been triggered by an asteroid that plunged into an ocean on northern Mars 3 billion years ago.

The study, outlined at the 48th Lunar and Planetary Sceince Conference, described an ocean that may have once filled the lowland region on Mars' northern latitudes. While the theory lost a lot of its probability over the years, new evidence showed that tsunami waves may have washed over the boundary of the southern highlands and the northern lowlands of the Red Planet.

Another proof was typical tsunami deposits along the center of both hemispheres. According to co-author François Costard, this proved that at some point, there was a northern ocean on Mars. One of the features seen on the dichotomy boundary is the lobate flow deposit, which is said to propagate uphill from the northern planes.

There was also the second set of land forms seen along the coastline. It was a thumbprint terrain that is said to be the reflection of tsunami waves from the coast, as well as their interaction with a second set of waves.

National Geographic noted that an ocean on Mars could hint at signs of life, but its biology would make the planet inhabitable. "There is ambiguity in all the various lines of evidence that have been cited regarding whether Mars is water-rich or water-poor," Steve Cliffford, another co-author of the study, shared. "The morphologic evidence that's been presented here is a very persuasive case for a water-rich planet."

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