The minerals showed that the young Mars was full of snow, ice and volcanoes

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2018-06-08 14:30:07

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The minerals showed that the young Mars was full of snow, ice and volcanoes

The Climate of Mars at the beginning of his story — the subject of fierce disputes. What was the Red planet: warm and humid or cold and snowy? The new study, published in Icarus, speaks in favor of the latter. Today we know that Mars is littered with networks of valleys, deltas, and lacustrine deposits, and therefore once on the surface were flowing water around 4 billion years ago. Until now, climate scientists have failed to create a sufficiently warm climate, on the surface of Mars the water was liquid.

"People are trying to simulate the ancient climate of Mars, using the same models that we use on Earth, and they didn't quite work out. It's hard to create a warm ancient Mars, because the sun was then much weaker. The whole Solar system was colder," says Briony Horgan, assistant Professor, Department of Geosciences, atmospheric and planetary Sciences at Purdue University. "And then how people use climate models, we come from their point of view — tell us that volcanic record on Mars?"

Volcanism during the early history of Mars was much. In some well studied areas of the planet are large volcanoes, but the regions of low and smooth topography in this respect, little is known. On Mars, there are about 100 flat hills, known as "the hills of Sisyphus", which may be of volcanic origin.

When volcanoes erupt under the ice covers and glaciers on Earth, the combination of heat and melted water creates flat steep mountains with flat tops — they are called "Tuija". When subglacial eruptions do not break the ice surface and the tops of cone-shaped volcanoes remain and not become flat. Mineralogy produced during these events is unique, due to the effect of hot lava and cold ice melt water.

The researchers used a spectrometer CRISM images to determine whether the mineral composition of the region subglacial volcanism.

CRISM captures both visible light waves and shorter wavelengths, which helps operators tool to determine a wide range of minerals on the surface of Mars. At visible wavelengths are strongly influenced by the iron, whereas in the infrared wavelengths of the CRISM catches the signatures of the carbonates, sulfates, hydroxyl groups and water included in the mineral crystals.

"each breed has its own distinct imprint, and it can be identified by the reflections of light," says Sheridan-Akis, the author of the work. Scientists have identified three specific combinations of minerals in the region, which is dominated by gypsum, polyhydrated sulphates and the mixture of oxide smectite-zeolite-iron — they all are associated with the volcanoes in glacial environments. "We now have all the data on minerals and morphology, which say that at some point in time on Mars was supposed to be ice. And, it was probably relatively late in the history of the young Mars."

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