Volcanic_convection_on_Mars-Study_Probe

Mars or ‘Red Planet’, as it is generally called, is the fourth planet in out solar system, orbiting the sun next to our home planet Earth. You may use to think that Mars is nothing but a dead planet, a huge pulp of mud and rock, orbiting the sun. But some recent study have made this notion completely changed with the help of some unprecedented evidences provided by the researchers. These prove that Mars is geologically as well as volcanically active rather than completely dead.

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What's about the research?

The study has been carried forward by N.Mari, L.J. Hallis, L. Daly, and M.R. Lee from the School of Geographical and Earth Sciences, University of Glasgow. Their research is entitled as ‘Convective activity in a Martian magma chamber recorded by P-zoning in Tissint olivine’.

Researchers presumed about it but lastly they have got evidences which clue to the volcanic activity on Mars. With the help of ongoing InSight Mission to Mars by NASA, magma conviction has founded within the mantle of the planet. It has caused due to the formation of a deep by a meteorite. Accordingly it has provided the first ever evidence about the entity of chemical  compound on Mars.


Function of Tissint Olivine in this regard

Olivine crystals in the Tissint meteorite is at the root of all these. Olivine with the formula of (Mg²⁺, Fe²⁺)₂SiO₄ is a magnesium iron silicate. Its crystal habit may be massive  to granular. It is a type of nesosilicate, or sometimes called orthosilicate. A majority of olivine can be found also in earth’s mantle within other materials or minerals. And thenceforth, it can be found in the igneous rocks on the earth surface, but it quickly weathers.

In this regard this is to be mentioned  that it is quite common on Mars as well as in the meteorites. Nevertheless, olivine was also founded on the Martian surface in previous studies as the proof of the planet’s prosiness, because it is known as well as mentioned before that olivine weathers quickly especially in the presence of water or humidity.

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In the case of Mars, olivine had formed in changing temperature and swirled about in magma convection swiftly. This indicates about the volcanic activity in Mars, almost 580 million years ago when the crystals was formed.

Nicola Mari said that,
There was no previous evidence about convection on Mars, but the question 'is the Mars a still volcanically active planet?' was previously researched using different methods. However, this is the first study that proves tectonic activity in the Mars interior from a purely chemical point of view, on real Martian samples.

But a strange thing has been noticed in this study. The research team has found phosphorus-rich bands within the olivine crystals in some cases. It is a phenomenon known as ‘solute trapping’ which is quite common for that of the Earth. But scientists have been surprised to find it on Mars.

Tissint_Parental_Magma_Chamber
Graphic representation of vigorous magma convection in Mars

Mari described the reason behind it,
This happens when the rate of crystal growth exceeds the rate at which phosphorus can diffuse through the melt, thus the phosphorus is obliged to enter the crystal structure instead of swimming in the liquid magma. In the magma chamber that generated the lava that I studied, the convection was so vigorous that the olivines were moved from the bottom of the hotter chamber to the cooler top, very rapidly- to be precise, this likely generated cooling rates of 15-30 degrees Celsius per hour for the olivines.


Mars Mantle

Nickel and Cobalt have found deep in the Martian Crust which is presumed to locate under 40 to 80 kilometres under the crust of Mars. Scientists also assumed about the temperature of Martian mantle to be almost 1560°C, during the Amazonian period of Mars (which is thought to have begun around 3 billion years ago). It is near about resemble to that of the Earth’s mantle where the temperature is 1650°C during Earth’s Archean Eon, almost 4 to 2.5 billion years ago.

Olympus_Mons_on_Mars_Study_Probe


Last of all, this does  not mean that Mars is presently similar to the Earth that of early era. According to the researchers, there will be no volcanic eruption on Mars in the next 5 million years. It does not mean that Mars is getting volcanically inactive or not, rather than it refers or presumes to the time interval for a volcanic eruption on Mars is extremely long as compared to the Earth, whereas more than one volcanic eruption take place. Further research will definitely reveal much more unknown phenomenas on the Mars.




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