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Is there a huge volcano the size of Mount Everest on Mars that has been overlooked?  New research creates ripples – CNN.co.jp

Is there a huge volcano the size of Mount Everest on Mars that has been overlooked? New research creates ripples – CNN.co.jp

A paper has been published claiming to have discovered an unknown supervolcano on Mars taller than Mount Everest./Space Frontiers/Archive Photos/Getty Images

2024.03.30 Published Saturday at 17:30 JST

(CNN) Researchers may have discovered a giant, bizarre-looking volcano taller than Mount Everest on Mars. The results of this new research have been announced. It has been overlooked for decades.

Pascal Lee, Director of the American Mars Research Institute, presented the results of his research at the 55th Lunar and Planetary Sciences Conference, which was held in The Woodlands, Texas, on the 13th of this month. The prospect of discovering a previously unknown volcano on Mars is causing ripples throughout the planetary science community.

While there is excitement about the new study, there is also some skepticism.

Lee worked with Sourav Shubham, a doctoral student at the University of Maryland, College Park, to locate a volcano in Noctis' Labyrinth on Mars. Noctis Labyrinth is a region near the Martian equator and is a network of canyons.

The volcano is not particularly high compared to the surrounding terrain, so it may have been overlooked despite years of satellite observations, Lee said.

If the research team's theory is correct, it could have major implications for scientists' understanding of the geology of Mars. Lee hopes this discovery will help guide future exploration expeditions to the region, searching for water ice and signs of life.

Initially, the research team's efforts led to the results of the study published in March 2023. The study suggests the possibility of a massive glacier covered in salt deposits in the Noctis Labyrinthus region.

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Since then, Lee and Chobham have examined data collected by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which suggests there may be frozen water beneath the salt. I was trying to see if there was frozen water.

But when he scanned the terrain more closely, Lee was surprised by “small lava flows flowing next to the glaciers.”

If the lava has oxidized, it will take on the same reddish-brown color as the surrounding surface, but it has not yet been fully oxidized.

This indicates that the lava was relatively fresh. This was the first sign that an undiscovered volcano might be lurking nearby.

“I started looking at the terrain carefully,” he told me. “As expected, we looked at several high-altitude points in the area and found that they were forming an arc.”

Lee added that this arc is reminiscent of shield volcanoes that are also found on Earth. Shield volcanoes have broad, gently sloping slopes, more pronounced in width than they are in height.

This discovery led Lee and Chobham to collect more evidence and discover that the 9,022-metre-high peak is actually the summit of a volcano.

Compared to Mount Everest, which is 8,848 meters above sea level, it is several hundred meters higher.

Lee and Shubham are currently compiling their findings into a peer-reviewed paper. If more detailed results can be achieved, the scientific community as a whole may gain greater confidence in this theory.

Discovering a volcano the size of Everest on Mars?