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Scientists Uncover Elusive Volcano on Mars Surpassing Mt. Everest’s Height

The Noctis Labyrinthus region (Latin for “labyrinth of night”) is located between the western edge of Valles Marineris and the Tharsis upland. It has a length of 1,190 km and is characterized by a system of deep and steep-walled valleys formed by faulting. Many of the valleys show the classical appearance of so-called graben

Chimauchem Nwosu Planetary researchers may have uncovered an elusive volcano on Mars, advancing notions of the Red Planet’s geology and prospects of alien life. Their findings have ignited excitement and doubt within the scientific community.Researchers have discovered a massive, abnormally structured volcano on Mars that dwarfs Mount Everest that has remained undiscovered for decades, a new study has found.Lead author and planetary scientist at the SETI Institute, Dr. Pascal Lee, and University of Maryland doctoral student of geology, Sourabh Shubham, have possibly discovered a previously unknown volcano on Mars.They presented their findings on March 13 at the 55th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in The Woodlands, Texas. Despite years of satellite observation, the volcano, nested within the Noctis Labyrinthus region on Mars, had gone unnoticed due to its eroded and collapsed state.The journey to the volcano’s discovery started in 2015. The researchers provisionally called it “Noctis volcano,” but proposed a potential site east of Noctis Labyrinthus dubbed “Noctis landing” for future Mars missions, aiming to search for extraterrestrial life.Lee and Shubham’s research efforts led to a study in March 15, 2023, proposing that the Martian region of Noctis Labyrinthus might harbor a giant glacier blanketed in salt deposits. They analyzed NASA Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter data to ascertain whether water remains enclosed within the salt layers. The scientists found a relatively fresh lava flow adjacent to the glacier, suggesting the presence of an undiscovered volcano nearby.Photo of Mars Shows How Dry Ice & Water ‘Sculpt’ Planet’s Surface26 June 2022, 18:49 GMTFurther scrutiny revealed an arc-shaped formation resembling a shield volcano, leading them to confirm that a peak previously identified was a Martian volcano towering at 29,600 feet – some 571 feet higher than the world’s tallest mountain, Everest (29,029 feet).Lee also proposed exploring the red planet’s volcanic region, the Tharsis Plateau, for warm caves that might harbor living microbes.The research findings are already garnering excitement. Dr. Adrien Broquet, a Humboldt research fellow at the German Aerospace Center who has studied Martian volcanoes, told news sources that “it’s a big thing” and “not a small feature on Mars for which we’ve had a question mark.”Dr. Ernst Hauber, a geologist at the German Aerospace Center’s Institute of Planetary Research, expressed skepticism and desires a peer-reviewed paper before accepting Lee and Shubham’s research outcome, questioning the lack of detail in their published abstract. Also, Dr. David Horvath of the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, Arizona, finds the abstract intriguing, but wants additional data to support the claims.Lee and Shubham are working on a peer-reviewed paper to elaborate on their findings, which could enhance the credibility of their hypothesis within the scientific community.

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