Martian surface
Martian surfaceWiki Commons

A recently published paper in the journal, Nature, raises questions on the nature of evolution of the planet Mars.

The scientists believe that these findings indicate that Mars could have contained earth-like atmosphere in its early years of evolution with a thick atmosphere, warmer temperature and water on the surface.  

"Many Martian volcanoes are easily recognised from their massive shield-shaped structure, similar to what we see in Hawaii. It is possible that the most ancient volcanoes were much more explosive and formed structures similar to what we now see in Arabia Terra," Universe Today quoted Joseph Michalski, a Mars researcher at the Natural History Museum in London and the Planetary Institute in Tucson, Arizona.

The scientists analysed the imagery data on supervolcanoes beamed by a group of four Mars orbiters over the past 15 years, which has led to this discovery.

These supervolcanoes also called as "caldera" volcanoes are collapsed structures, which are three times taller than highest peak in the world. These supervolcanoes are said to erupt with about 1,000 times the force of the volcanoes on the Earth.

Previous studies on Mars have revealed the volcanic history of over three billion years. These supervolcanoes are said to be even more ancient than the ones found from the previous studies.  

Studying these volcanoes becomes crucial in determining the planet's atmosphere as the gases emitted from these volcanoes help create planet's environment. These studies will also help the scientists predict how Mars evolved over years and turned out to be ash-laden and containing thin crust atmosphere with colder temperatures.

Scientists predict that these supervolcanic eruptions might have led to shift in the climatic conditions of Mars. "These may have made it more difficult for life to evolve on the planet's surface, but underground steam vents and the release of water into the atmosphere also could have created niches for microbes to thrive," said Michalski, according to The Guardian.

The paper titled "Supervolcanoes within an ancient volcanic province in Arabia Terra, Mars" was authored by Joseph R Michalski and Jacob E Bleacher.