Almost 3.5 billion years ago, a huge asteroid crashed into Mars. Like the one that crashed much later on Earth and wiped out the dinosaurs, it would have generated a megatsunami.
The Chicxulub crater on the Yucatan Peninsula (Mexico) corresponds to the track left on our Earth by the asteroid that caused the extinction of the dinosaurs approximately 66 million years ago. It measures about 180 kilometers in diameter. A little more than that, as researchers from Department of Planetary Science (USA) has just identified on the surface of Mars. A crater they called “Pohl”, and which could well tell a unique story.
With a diameter of 110 kilometers, it is located in an area of the Red Planet known as the Northern Lowlands, which according to previous studies was covered by a large ocean in the past. According to the researchers’ analyses, the Pohl crater was formed 3.4 billion years ago. After the fall on Mars of an asteroid with a diameter between 3 – if the ground resistance was low – and 9 kilometers – if the ground resistance was high. This is barely smaller than the diameter of the asteroid responsible for the extinction of the dinosaurs.
A colossal energy released
In the first case, the energy released could have been on the order of that released by 0.5 million megatons of TNT. And in the second case, even of the magnitude of what was released with 13 million megatons of TNT. It’s colossal. To get an idea, know that the Tsar Bomba, the most powerful nuclear bomb ever tested, is known to release an energy on the order of that released by 57 megatons of TNT.
Was the damage on Mars similar to that on Earth when the dinosaurs died out? At any rate, what the simulations show is that the impact could have generated megatsunamis that would have reached no less than 1,500 kilometers around. With waves that could have risen up to around 250 metres. A (…)
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