Mars Mystery Crater

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

An ‘alien plughole’ on Mars that has baffled scientists could have a simple explanation.

Astronomers claim the strange crater, which has a terraced rather than bowl pattern, has been created by water ice.

To confirm their theory, researchers found an enormous slab of water ice just beneath the crater, measuring 130ft (40 metre) thick.

Scroll down for video

Astronomers claim the strange crater, which has a terraced rather than bowl pattern, has been created by water ice. To confirm their theory, researchers found an enormous slab of water ice just beneath the crater, measuring 130ft (40 metres) thick
Astronomers claim the strange crater, which has a terraced rather than bowl pattern, has been created by water ice. To confirm their theory, researchers found an enormous slab of water ice just beneath the crater, measuring 130ft (40 metres) thick

WHAT ARE TERRACED CRATERS? 

Terraced craters can form when there are layers of different materials in the planet’s subsurface, such as dirt, ice or rock. 

When the crater is forming, the shock wave from an object hitting a planet’s surface propagates differently depending on what layers beneath the area of impact.

This means that instead of creating a usual bowl shape, the crater will have terraces, or ledges in its wall.  In this area of Mars, named Arcadia Planitia, scientists have discovered a number of other terraced craters. 

The slab, which covers an area equivalent to that of California and Texas combined, was spotted by Nasa’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, or MRO.

‘Craters should be bowl shaped, but this one had terraces in the wall,’ says Ali Bramson, a graduate student in the University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory.

Terraces can form when there are layers of different materials in the planet’s subsurface, such as dirt, ice or rock.

‘When the crater is forming, the shock wave from an object hitting a planet’s surface propagates differently depending on what substrates are beneath the area of impact,’ Bramson says.

‘If you have a weaker material in one layer, the shock wave can push out that material more easily, and the result is terracing at the interface between the weaker and stronger materials.’

‘It’s worth mentioning that terraced craters of this size are quite rare,’ added Shane Byrne, associate professor in LPL.

In this area of Mars, named Arcadia Planitia, scientists have discovered a number of other terraced craters.

‘The craters may have formed at different times, but they all have terraces, which indicates something weird is going on in the subsurface,’ said Byrne.

Thanks to Mars’ unstable obliquity – the degree the planet tilts on its axis – its climate changes often.

Continue reading

About the Common Constitutionalist

Brent, aka The Common Constitutionalist, is a Constitutional Conservative, and advocates for first principles, founders original intent and enemy of progressives. He is former Navy, Martial Arts expert. As well as publisher of the Common Constitutionalist blog, he also is a contributing writer for Political Outcast, Godfather Politics, Minute Men News (Liberty Alliance), Freedom Outpost, the Daily Caller, Vision To America and Free Republic. He also writes an exclusive weekly column for World Net Daily (WND).