Did volcanic eruptions wipe out life on Mars?

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posted on Jun, 21 2014 @ 10:25 AM
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I've always wondered why Mars is the barren landscape that we see today- after all it's teetering in the Goldilocks zone, has liquid water locked in it's polar caps, and an atmosphere that might not support life as we know it, but life nevertheless-if that wasn't the case scientists wouldn't entertain the idea to start with.

So why has the evidence eluded us for so long? Maybe because the life we are looking for is no longer there, and there is one reason that could be to blame-And it's called Olympus Mons.

Now most of you are aware of Olympus Mons-but for those who aren't, here's a quick briefing:


Olympus Mons is a shield volcano 624 km (374 mi) in diameter (approximately the same size as the state of Arizona), 25 km (16 mi) high, and is rimmed by a 6 km (4 mi) high scarp. A caldera 80 km (50 mi) wide is located at the summit of Olympus Mons. To compare, the largest volcano on Earth is Mauna Loa. Mauna Loa is a shield volcano 10 km (6.3 mi) high and 120 km (75 mi) across


NASA

So to simplify it, This is a Volcano three times the Height of Mt. Everest, the diameter of a U.S state, and a caldera that could swallow most of New York City. So what would happen if such a monstrosity was to erupt? Earths volcanoes pale to comparison but yet look at the Mt. Tambora eruption and the effects it had:



The eruption created global climate anomalies that included the phenomenon known as "volcanic winter": 1816 became known as the "Year Without a Summer" because of the effect on North American and European weather. Agricultural crops failed and livestock died in much of the Northern Hemisphere, resulting in the worst famine of the 19th century.


Princeton

In comparison, Oympus Mons is fifteen times the size of Tambora, and on a planet that's smaller than Earth. And here's another twist, one of the primary ejections of Volcanoes is Carbon Dioxide, and the the atmospheric composition of Mars is made up of more than 90 percent Carbon Dioxide. I might be grasping at straws but there could be a correlation between the two, and Olympus Mons has erupted in the past and it could've done the damage long before Homo Sapiens came down from the trees.

There is another possible volcanic event in Earths history also explain why life never took root on Mars, and it was appropriately named 'the great dying'



The Permian–Triassic (P–Tr) extinction event, colloquially known as the Great Dying, occurred about 252 Ma (million years) ago. It is the Earth's most severe known extinction event, with up to 96% of all marine species and 70% of terrestrial vertebrate species becoming extinct. It is the only known mass extinction of insects. Some 57% of all families and 83% of all genera became extinct. Because so much biodiversity was lost, the recovery of life on Earth took significantly longer than after any other extinction event, possibly up to 10 million years.


Wikipedia

Looking at those numbers, we are lucky to even be here. If Olympus Mons erupted in a time when Martian life was in it's earliest and most fragile forms, nothing may have survived except the hardiest of bacteria called extremophiles. If we had a DeLorean and some banana peels as fuel we could go back in time and we may find an ecosystem that was wiped out by volcanic cataclysm, Which is why I think the mars rover should literally dig a little deeper.

That's my theory in a nutshell- a confusing, long winded nutshell. When (and hopefully not if) we step onto Martian soil we could look more further it but sadly I might not be around to see If I was right or not, but I don't care either way, just pondering the Idea was fun enough.




posted on Jun, 21 2014 @ 10:37 AM
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a reply to: Thecakeisalie

Maybe. What's the point of asking? We haven't been there. We haven't studied the soil and errosion patterns. What's the point of guessing? We'll find out when we go there. If we don't kill each other in WW3 or something of that sort.



posted on Jun, 21 2014 @ 10:41 AM
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I agree to an extent but believe Olympus Mons is part of the reason Mars is as it is today , I think it was Olympus and the many other Volcanoes on Mars that led to the cooling of the magnetic core and loss of the Martian magnetic shield , the Volcanic activity led to the loss of shielding and atmosphere.

I also believe that life may still exist on Mars it followed the water and went underground , there are likely many cave systems on Mars that could be home to life.

edit on 21-6-2014 by gortex because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 21 2014 @ 12:16 PM
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a reply to: Thecakeisalie
You draw all the parallels to Earth, except for the fact that the extinctions on Earth are never 100% and they probably wouldn't be 100% on Mars either, as long as there is still liquid water. So if there was life on Mars, remnants of it could still be there in the liquid water as gortex says. In a billion years, if all the water on and in Earth disappears due to the sun heating up, then the extinction will effectively be 100%, but it will take a while to boil away the water from underground rocks. Mars still has a fair amount of underground water as far as we can tell.



posted on Jun, 21 2014 @ 12:16 PM
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In my opinion, Mount Olympus is the conseguence of a major impact at the opposite region of the Mars' emisphere.

Something big (a comet?) hit the planet, push the inner core and create the Tarsis Volcanoes Region.



posted on Jun, 21 2014 @ 03:06 PM
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a reply to: thegeck

You can't really answer questions that aren't asked. That's the point of asking.

This topic is thought provoking. Technology, especially electronic, wouldn't last long in Earth's atmosphere. Imagine if Martians migrated to Eartg during the crisis, and the remnants of their technology and civilization were wiped out due to inadpatability to Earth, then ancient culture tried to use Astrology and Symbols to explain it, but were lost in time. Then you have us here today trying to go back.

That's probably absurd and highly improbably, but hey, what's a conspiracy site without a little fun thinking?



posted on Jun, 21 2014 @ 03:21 PM
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Its obvious that something happened to Mars's seismic systems and volcanoes. There is today very low activity, but its not completely stopped. But this caused cooling of the planet, as volcanoes stopped spewing CO2 to atmosphere. Without volcanoes, there is no life. For some reason the planet's core cooled down, halting all the activity. It may have been because its smaller than Earth and much further from the Sun.



posted on Jun, 21 2014 @ 03:46 PM
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Olympus Mons exists because Mars' core cooled and there was no plate tectonics. It's what Hawaii might be had the crust never moved over the hot spot that created the Hawaiian islands and Emperor seamounts so that instead of one we had a sucession of dozens of volcanoes.

Added to which, the cooling of the core meant the loss of Mars' magnetic field, letting in the solar wind to strip away the planet's atmosphere.

Simply put: Mars was a likely source of life in it's early days when it had actove tectonics and a magnetic field. But it was too small, cooled too soon, and died.

Earth may well be on the lower end of planet size in terms of what is viable for life - in which case we may look rather odd to most aliens, evolving on larger planets with stronger gravity.



posted on Jun, 21 2014 @ 06:05 PM
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im more inclined that either a asteroid wiped out the planet life or a solar eruption of plasma was a direct hit and destroyed the atmosphere.



posted on Jun, 21 2014 @ 07:03 PM
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Contrary to Arken's constant assertions, there is no life on the surface of Mars. However, it is [remotely] possible that there are microbes deep underground, feeding off minerals in the rocks. The trouble is though, whatever happens on the surface, be it volcanism, or atmospheric loss, there would be no possible way to detect it without drilling. I know there have been methane clouds observed, but they only indicate something interesting is happening - without further data, quite likely geological.

More interestingly, however, is if life *was* found, would it be similar to microbial life on Earth? Or totally different...



posted on Jun, 21 2014 @ 07:15 PM
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originally posted by: Thecakeisalie
Which is why I think the mars rover should literally dig a little deeper.


No modern rover has been equipped to dig. They just scrape away at the surface. I find it frustrating too, but the nature of science is baby steps - look at what you know, then explore deeper. That's the only way science can categorise what it finds.



posted on Jun, 21 2014 @ 10:00 PM
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originally posted by: Thecakeisalie
I've always wondered why Mars is the barren landscape that we see today.

The reason for that is the absence of a strong magnetic field, like we have on Earth. With no magnetic field, the solar radiation gradually stripped martian atmosphere molecule by molecule. With such thin atmosphere as it is now, all liquid water evaporated and escaped into space, leaving only ice on (and under) the surface.

So the real question is - why did Mars lose its magnetic field? Why did its core cool down so quickly?

Could it be because Mars is smaller than Earth, and much farther away from the Sun? Venus was also earth-like in the past, so maybe Mars and Venus are at the extremeties of the habitable zone, and they quickly "surrendered" to the unhabitability of space.



posted on Jun, 21 2014 @ 10:30 PM
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As Arken pointed out if you look on the other side of mars to the 3 Volcano's you will find 3 asteroid impacts



posted on Jun, 21 2014 @ 10:51 PM
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Don't forget Valles Marineris




posted on Jun, 21 2014 @ 10:57 PM
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posted on Jun, 22 2014 @ 09:12 AM
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a reply to: AndyMayhew

This!

Plus:

Not only did Mars lost his athmosphere due to the solar winds (because the magnetic field disappeared). Also his gravity is a bit too weak to prevent the athmosphere from vapouring into space in long time terms.



posted on Jun, 22 2014 @ 09:13 AM
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a reply to: FlyingFox

I find it suspicious that the Valles Marineris looks like a gigantic scar that is pointing directly at the huge volcanoes and the Mt Olympus. Could the whole catastrophe have been caused by a huge glancing impact, which caused this scar and nudged the mantle in that direction, causing it to erupt in massive volcanoes and lead to the cooling of the interior? Or perhaps it was due to the strong tidal effect of a huge asteroid passing nearby?



posted on Jun, 22 2014 @ 01:10 PM
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a reply to: wildespace
I'm fairly certain it's not the result of a glancing impact, because that's not what a glancing impact would look like. The possibility of tidal forces from a near collision of a large object may be possible but it would take something huge, like a planetoid, which could have been flung into space or the sun after the encounter. But I don't think it's that either.

However some think it's a rift like the East African rift between the Nubian and Somalian plates, and we see the same type of formation you describe of a rift pointing to a volcano here on Earth:

Giant Crack in Africa Will Create a New Ocean

Giant crack? Check.
Pointing at Volcano? Check.
Give it 10 million years and it will be huge.

Figure out what's causing that and you have your most likely suspect of the cause of the similar rift on Mars, but we are pretty sure it's not caused by any impact or passing asteroid.


Dabbahu, a volcano at the northern end of the rift, erupted first, then magma pushed up through the middle of the rift area and began "unzipping" the rift in both directions, the researchers explained in a statement today.
So yes there is a connection between the volcanoes and the rift, it's not a coincidence.

East African Rift
edit on 22-6-2014 by Arbitrageur because: clarification



posted on Jun, 23 2014 @ 01:41 AM
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originally posted by: douglas5
As Arken pointed out if you look on the other side of mars to the 3 Volcano's you will find 3 asteroid impacts


So how exactly would this theory work then?



posted on Jun, 23 2014 @ 05:06 AM
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originally posted by: wmd_2008

originally posted by: douglas5
As Arken pointed out if you look on the other side of mars to the 3 Volcano's you will find 3 asteroid impacts


So how exactly would this theory work then?

There are some large impact craters, but they don't match the position of the volcanoes.


edit on 23-6-2014 by wildespace because: (no reason given)





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