Researchers already suspected the existence of a vast ocean located in the northern hemisphere of the red planet and potential tsunamis that would have shaped the Martian land more than three billion years ago. Suspicions have just been lifted, confirmed by the discovery of a crater 120 kilometers wide.
The presence of liquid water on Mars is no longer debated among scientists. When Mars was still a wet planet in its youth, researchers estimate there was enough water to completely cover it to a depth of 137 meters. In reality, this water probably formed an ocean that covered about half of the planet’s northern hemisphere, in places reaching depths of more than 1.6 km. Who says oceans, says tsunamis and at the time, the impacts of asteroids were numerous.
During the 48th Conference devoted to the sciences of the Moon and the Planets (the Lunar and Planetary science Conference) which took place in Texas a few days ago, an international team of researchers announced indeed to have discovered a crater which would be a stigma of the violent impact perpetrated by a mega tsunami. And this tsunami would itself be the result of the fall of an asteroid in an ocean. » We found deposits characteristic of tsunamis along the border between the northern hemisphere and the southern hemisphere of Mars “, explained in particular Dr. Costard, from the Paris-Sud University of the CNRS.
According to the scenario established by the scientists, after the shock linked to the asteroid falling into an ocean located in the northern hemisphere, waves 150 meters high would then have swept over the vast plains of the red planet. But this tsunami baptized Lomonosov, named after an 18th century polymath scientist, would be only one example among many others. Experts estimate that between 3 and 3.5 billion years ago, asteroid impacts regularly triggered megatsunamis on the once blue and now red planet.