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New evidence suggests Mars may have earthquakes and volcanic eruptions

Earth has tectonic plates that move from an active interior. That lack of a dynamic surface on Mars for billions of years has led researchers to believe that the planet is geologically dead.

Except, University of Arizona-led study is challenging that idea.

The  study found evidence that under the Martian surface, molten rock is moving from the core to the surface, causing the planet’s crust to experience earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. 

The flow of the rock resembles the shape of a mushroom and is called a mantle plume. These are witnessed on Earth, and it is thought that Hawaii was formed from such a plume. 

On the red planet, it was observed under a sparse region of land. That region is home to signs of young volcanic ash.

UA researcher Adrien Broquet said the results were astounding. 

“Because we know that mantle plumes exist on the Earth. We think they exist on Venus. But Mars was honestly just a cold dead world. And finding that Mars is not dead today is great," Broquet said.

While he did not say that life is seen on Mars, he said the plumes provide favorable environments for it to form.

Broquet added that the discovery will require new research techniques in order to fully understand the cause.

Greg Hahne started as a news intern at KJZZ in 2020 and returned as a field correspondent in 2021. He learned his love for radio by joining Arizona State University's Blaze Radio, where he worked on the production team.