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
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.
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
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.
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
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.