Photo credit: ESO / M. Kornmesser / N. Risinger via Engadget
Around 66 million years ago, a giant asteroid hurtled into Earth and caused a 93 mile-wide crater in what is now the Gulf of Mexico, while also triggering a 100-metre high mega-tsunami. Now a new study suggests Mars may have suffered a similar fate of a mega-tsunami event 3.7 billion years ago. The researchers observed Mars’ Lomonosov crater, which they think is likely to have been created by a rogue 10 mile-wide space rock, as it closely resembles the marine craters back here on Earth. Read more for a video and additional information.
If this theory holds true then the research adds weight to the theory Mars once had an ocean, making the Lomonosov crater a great place to search for alien life on Mars. Despite this observation, there is still no concrete proof that Mars once had an ocean billions of years ago, since a lot more data would be required to verify this.
“It was a really large-scale, high speed tsunami. At the very beginning, a crater of 70km in diameter was created by the impact. This expelled a huge volume of water, with wave propagation at 60m/second The initial wave was about 300m in height. After just a few hours, that tsunami wave reached the palaeo-shoreline located at a few hundred km from the impact crater. Finally, due to the Martian ocean filling in that crater, which produced a kind of rebound, there was a second wave propagation,” said Dr Francois Costard.