California specialist compared satellite images of the Earth and Mars, and came to the conclusion that the giant canyons formed on them in a very similar process.
After almost forty years of research, scientists have finally proved that on Mars there are tectonic plates, and they did it without the help of the hero of the last month, the rover Curiosity.
Recently published in the journal Lithosophere
An article scientist John (An Yin) from the University of California (UCLA) reveals the mystery of Valles Marineris, declaring that the system of canyons on Mars is the result of tectonic processes — rifting crust faults and underground movement of the platform.
Institute research shows that the surface of the Earth is not the only one in the solar system product activity lithospheric plates. The scientist has analyzed hundreds of photos THEMIS camera on board the satellite Odyssey, comparing them with the geological records in the Himalayas, Tibet, and Death Valley in California — a unique place in which one can see the faults major plates of the planet.
View of the central part of Valles Marineris
Particularly good target for him was Death Valley — intermountain basin in the Mojave Desert and the Great Basin in the state of California. On its territory there are areas with rocks that were formed by a giant rock breaking due to the shift of tectonic plates in their joints.
John was able to compare the structure with a very smooth and flat wall of the canyon on Mars — in his opinion, it could be formed only by a similar break rocks. "These features do not see on any planet in the solar system — only on Earth and Mars" — he wrote in his article.
Valles Marineris is the longest and deep canyons of the system throughout the entire solar system. It reaches a length of 4,500 kilometers, accounting for a quarter of a circle of the Red Planet, and nine times the amount of this parameter the Grand Canyon on Earth. Given that no evidence of tectonic activity on Mars so far not been found, caused the formation of the Valley remained a mystery to the scientific world.
The new work of California scientist shows that actually are part of Valles Marineris joint Martian crustal plates that are in constant motion. According to the calculations, Ina, to form the valley they had advanced 93 miles (150 kilometers) in relation to each other.
If tectonic activity on Mars does exist, then it is incredibly slow. Significant shift of the plates is achieved in about a million years. John suggests that the very type of tectonics — other: for example, Mars may be only two tectonic plates, not seven, as on Earth.
Researchers compared this process with a horizontal tectonic activity in the Dead Sea. Based on the results of his research on Mars must be the place, and phenomena such as earthquakes, marsotryaseniya as logical scientist calls them.
Source: University of California (press release)
Category: Astronomy and Space