A new research might help us get a better understanding of the volcanic features of Mars. As per latest the study, a new island formed from an underwater volcanic eruption could help scientists get more information about Mars and also get clues about the presence of liquid water during the initial stages of the red planet. In December 2014, an underwater volcano erupted amid the islands of Tonga which is situated in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. After the end of the eruptions, a new island was formed from the ashes of the volcano that’s settled a month later.
Scientists unofficially named the new Tongan island as Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai. Since then, scientists have been tracking the new island with the help of NASA satellites and have been doing intensive research regarding the formation of this new land mass and its changing shape. As per the research, for the first six months, the island went through rapid erosion due to frequent lashing and gashing by the waves. But after that, the erosion slowed down and the island started changing its shape. The waves redistributed some of the eroded sediment which has resulted in the formation of a bridge to another nearby island. And now the good news is that the researchers have provided an estimated lifespan of 6-30 years for the new Tongan island. This will help scientists get more time to do some intense research on the newborn and in return extract some information related to the ancient Mars.
According to scientists, on Mars also such type of erosion patterns are present, and they believe that these are formed from the underwater volcanic eruptions that took place on ancient Mars. Normally submarine volcanic processes are an indicator of conditions that support microbial communities which means Mars likely had conditions favorable for life in its early days.
Dr. Garvin, the chief scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt said, “The thought was that we might be able to use the recognition of these kinds of landforms to be an indication of palaeowater stories, depths, and longevities on the Red Planet.” He informed that their team is going to use Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai on Earth to train them to understand Mars. “We see things that remind us of this kind of volcano at similar scales on Mars, and literally, there are thousands of them, in multiple regions,” he stated. This latest research is very important for scientists to get evidence about the formation of life on the Red Planet. The findings were presented at a news conference at the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union on December 11.