Scientists Say Mars’ Oceans May Be Trapped On The Planet

Dominating space and discovering everything it holds is still one of man’s greatest desires. This makes us take risks in the name of knowledge. After all, who wouldn’t want to travel through the immensity of the universe?! People have been fascinated with the fourth planet in the Solar System ever since they discovered it.

Mars , after ours, is the most popular, and for several reasons. Some people theorize that there is life on the huge red planet. Others say that the extraterrestrials we see in so many stories started from there. Scientists see it with different eyes and are studying the possibility of inhabiting it. Mars has always been a great source of mysteries.

Billions of years ago, the Red Planet was home to lakes and oceans. And where all that water went, to make way for the rock planet that is known today, is still a mystery.

Mars

It was thought that most of that water could have been lost to space. However, a new study, funded by NASA, has proposed that it actually went nowhere and that it is inside minerals in the planet’s crust.

“We’re saying that the crust forms what we call hydrated minerals, that is, minerals that actually have water in their crystalline structure,” said Eva Scheller, lead author of the new article.

Scheller’s model suggests that between 30 and 99% of the original water on Mars is trapped within these minerals. It is believed that the planet had enough water to cover the entire planet in about 100 to 1,500 meters of ocean.

And as early in Mars’ history it lost its magnetic field, the atmosphere was progressively stripped away. It is believed that this is how he lost water. However, the authors of the new study believe that as much as some of the water disappeared, most still remained.

Oceans

Through observations made by rovers and meteorites from Mars , the researchers focused on hydrogen, which is a key component of water.

There are several types of hydrogen atoms. And most have only one proton at their core. But a small fraction, about 0.02%, has a proton and a neutron. This makes them heavier. They are known as deuterium, or heavy hydrogen.

And since this lighter type escapes the planet’s atmosphere at a faster rate, the loss of water to space would leave relatively more deuterium behind.

However, given the amount of water that Mars is believed to have started and the actual rate of hydrogen escape seen by the spacecraft, the ratio of deuterium to hydrogen cannot be explained solely by atmospheric loss.

Because of this, the authors claim that there is a combination of two mechanisms. These are: the imprisonment of water in minerals in the crust of Mars and the loss of water to the atmosphere.

“Whenever you have a rock and it’s interacting with water, there’s a series of very complex reactions that form a hydrated mineral,” Scheller said.

Water loss

The process is called chemical weathering and it also happens on Earth in clay, for example. However, on Earth, volcanoes recycle water back into the atmosphere. On Mars, on the other hand, there are no tectonic plates, which makes the changes permanent.

According to simulations the team ran, Mars lost most of its water between four and 3.7 billion years ago. This means that “Mars was very similar to what we see today for the last three billion years,” Scheller said.

Volcano That Has Been Dormant for 6,000 Years Erupts in Iceland

The volcano that reigns on Fagradals Mountain in southwest Iceland has been dormant for six 6,000 years. Last Friday night, 19th, after earthquakes in the area, the volcano erupted – the first the Reykjanes Peninsula has experienced in 781 years.

The phenomenon occurred at night and lit up the entire region. According to The Associated Press, the glow of lava can be seen about 30 kilometers away from Reykjavík, Iceland’s capital.

On social media, the Icelandic authorities asked people to stay at home and, during this period, keep windows and doors closed to avoid contact with the ash and other gases, which are released by lava during the eruption process.

According to the US State Environmental Protection Agency, the gases, which include sulfur dioxide, carbon dioxide and hydrogen fluoride, are potentially dangerous.

Active volcano

Iceland’s Meteorological Office said on Saturday morning, 20, that the presence of the gases “should not cause much discomfort for people, except for those who live near the source of the eruption.”

On its website, the agency revealed that scientists and other professionals continue to monitor gas emissions and reported that volcanic activity has decreased since Friday, 19th. the lava – are approximately between 500 and 700 meters long.

“The lava fountains are small and the lava flows pose no imminent danger,” noted the Iceland Meteorological Office. The country’s Scientific Council for Civil Protection said it does not believe the eruption is a threat to local structures.

As we reported here, southwest Iceland has been hit by a “swarm” of earthquakes since February 24th. Dozens of them had a magnitude of 3 or more, meaning that all activities were felt.

On Thursday the 18th, just a day before the eruption, Iceland’s Meteorological Office reported a total of 400 earthquakes in a span of just seven hours. Despite the extent, the seismic activity was much lower compared to others where there were about 1,000 earthquakes.

Iceland, April 2020

Scientists and competent authorities have been on alert since April 2020, as at that time, according to the Tempo portal, more than 8000 earthquakes were recorded in a volcanic region of Iceland. The activity, experts say, is a sign that more and more volcanoes could erupt at any time – as they have now.

The Rejkanes Peninsula, located southwest of the Icelandic capital (Reykjavik), where seismic shocks have been felt with a certain frequency since then, is currently the most monitored, mainly due to the fact that the ground is constantly being pushed by magma, which continues on the rise.

“It appears that after being relatively inactive for several centuries, this region is about to awaken,” said volcanologist Dave McGarvie of Lancaster University, UK. As stated by the Tempo portal, “geologists believe that the Reyjkanes peninsula deserves greater attention due to the duration of the active periods, around 300 years of activity, and the type of volcanic activity”.