Space

Study finds reason behind the formation of strange Martian rock

A strange rocky formation on the Red Planet had puzzled scientists for decades. Scientists, uncertain about the origin of this mysterious hilly landscape better known as the Medusae Fossae Formation (MFF), regarded it as some extraterrestrial activity. However, according to a new study performed by a group of researchers, the MFF that extends up to three thousand one hundred miles across the planet’s equator, was formed some millions of years ago due to a volcanic event on the Martian surface.

The initial discovery of this peculiar rock formation, the MFF, dates back to the 1960s. The imagery of the MFF was first captured by the Mariner spacecraft of NASA. However, until now the different analysis performed in connection with the MFF failed to give any positive knowledge to the scientists about its origin.

The MFF’s scale is reportedly huge estimating near about 1/5th of the size of the entire United States. As per the study, the MFF comprises of sedimentary deposits, which are almost hundred times larger in comparison to the biggest volcanic deposit witnessed on the Earth.

Planetary scientist Lujendra Ojha, at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, said in a statement, “This is a massive deposit, not only on a Martian scale but also in terms of the solar system because we do not know of any other deposit that is like this.”

As a part of the study, the researchers analyzed a series of data received from different Mars orbiter spacecraft for estimating the density of the Medusae Fossae Formation. According to the study, the researchers noted the MFF as a “relatively porous unit” and theorized its evolution was the result of “explosive volcanic eruptions.”

Ojha explained, “The eruptions that created the deposit could have spewed massive amounts of climate-altering gases into Mars’s atmosphere and ejected enough water to cover Mars in a global ocean more than 9 centimeters (4 inches) thick.”

The findings of this new study were published in the Journal of Geophysical Research. As expected by the scientists, the inferences of this study would help them in further understanding of the Red Planet’s geology and also could yield clearer response to whether the Mars colonization could be possible.

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