Mount Olympus, the tallest volcano in our solar system, was once surrounded by vast Martian oceans. They played a big role in the formation of the characteristic bands observed on the surface of Mars.
The images were analyzed by scientists from the European Space Agency (ESA). Previously, the Mars Express probe captured a unique feature known as Lycus Sulci.
This geological formation, characterized by parallel grooves, extends for 1000 km from Mount Olympus, and ends just before the Yelwa crater. This Martian crater, which extends for 8 km, was named after a city in Nigeria.
Scientists suggest that the striated structure of the Lycus Sulci furrow was formed as a result of the flow of lava from Mount Olympus millions of years ago.
Hot liquid rock collided with water and ice, which led to colossal landslides. Some of these landslides are believed to have covered vast distances, hardening over time and forming wrinkled patterns.
The latest finds confirm the main hypothesis of the predominance of liquid water on ancient Mars, which contrasts sharply with its current state – a cold desert with rare ice remnants, concentrated mainly at its poles.
In support of this theory, scientists have discovered colossal rocks surrounding Mount Olympus. It is believed that these towering structures outline an ancient coastline with a massive depression below it, where there was once a lot of water.
Scientists believe that the lower regions of the mountain were destroyed when the flowing lava came into contact with water.
According to the research team, this catastrophic event was accompanied by huge rockfalls and landslides that spread widely across the adjacent plains. Lava channels leading to the Elva crater indicate the vast distances that landslides covered from the perimeter of the volcano, the researchers said.
Although the existence of liquid water on Mars in the past is a positive sign for potential life forms, most researchers argue that any such organisms perished along with the ancient oceans.