Bouncing boulders on Mars tell tale of marsquakes

WION Web Team
New Delhi Updated: Jan 27, 2022, 04:22 PM(IST)

Mars (FILE) Photograph:( Zee News Network )

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Indian scientists have observed a curious pattern made by bouncing boulders on martian soil. This pattern can be used to take estimate of seismic activity in a particular region on the Red Planet

For a layperson, planets other than Earth are not dynamic worlds. Earth is full of natural activity but other planets are barren landscapes in popular perception.

But this is not always the case. Planets in space may not have life, but they surely have their own processes.

Take Mars for example. The Red Planet doesn't harbour any known life now but it has seismic activity. Quakes on Mars are called 'Marsquakes'.

Indian scientists have now spotted unique geological movements on the martian surface that bear testimony to instances of marsquakes. Scientists from Physical Research Laboratory (PRL) in Ahmedabad have spotted tell-tale signs of bouncing boulders on martian surface.

The scientists studied photos of martian surface taken in NASA missions from 2006 and 2020. A curious pattern was seen in the soil of the Red Planet.

When a boulder tumbles on Mars, it creates a characteristic V-shaped pattern at the location of impact. And a bouncing boulder means that a series of these 'V's is sketched on the surface on points the bouncing boulder makes contact.

The broad portion of the V-shape points at the direction of the slope.

Scientists from PRL have observed more than 4500 such tracks made by bouncing boulders. The movement of these boulders has been associated with seismic activity of Mars. Such an association is strengthened by the fact that these tracks made of Vs have been observed in greater numbers in Cerberus Fossae region on Mars. This region is especially seismically active.

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