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Volcanoes on Mars

9 May 2021

Sent in by Gary – another interesting piece of geology. This time on Mars – see www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-9553955/ … Mars could be geologically active – evidence of recent volcanic activity has been found. In geological terminology the word recent covers quite a long time – and doesn't refer to yesterday. What has excited scientists is that life on Mars may still survive – under the ground. Microbes and bacteria spring to mind. Marsquakes have also been detected recently and we are told that volcanic eruptions have even produced floods of water, as a result of melting water ice or an injection of water from deep in the crust. We are even told that when water mixes with magma it is like throwing gasoline [petrol] on a fire. Another point made is that the recent volcanic outflow occurred close to an impact site – and both have a similar age. Impacts cause magma to well out of the ground. Perhaps. If the Deccan Traps coincided with the Chicxulub impact that would be a truism but it is far from accepted in current geological thinking. However, on Mars it looks like it might be true. This would be a fact they would have to transfer to earth geology, causing a bit of a controversy as regards parameters currently allowed. Scientists do think Mars holds water but the surface of the planet is very cold as a result of a thin atmosphere, and therefore is probably locked up as ice. They also think water has eroded channels and canyons on the surface, an idea that is still controversial and resisted.

At https://phys.org/news/202-05-dark-energy-illuminate-evolution-fate.html … we have a piece here on dark energy – one of the imponderables of cosmology. A new mission may illuminate the origin and evolution of the universe, and even its ultimate fate. In this piece, presented by Pennsylvania State university, the actuality of dark matter as a real substance of some kind, appears to be accepted. However, that might be due to the tone of the press release rather than what the scientists themselves say. Otherwise theory has become fact it would seem, even though dark matter is invisible [and may not be there]. Dark energy, we are told, is a mysterious force that is pushing the universe outwards and causing it to expand faster as it ages. It is engaged in a cosmic tug of war with dark matter. Dark energy, like dark matter, are hypothesis to account for discrepancies in calculations – one of which is the rate of expansion. A case of the unseen in combat with the unproven.

A bit later, we are told by one of the scientists involved, a more realistic appraisal. He says the term dark means we don't have a clue about it. Dark energy is just another way of saying we don't know what is causing the accelerating expansion. There are a number of theories. They are now pinning their hopes on HEIDEX. You will hear a lot about this new telescope array in the months to come as it is designed to view the sky from a new perspective. One of its goals is to understand red shift more accurately.

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