Martian Meteor Collision May Have Triggered a 1,000-Foot Tsunami


This artist’s impression shows how Mars may have looked about 4 billion years ago when almost half the planet’s northern hemisphere could have been covered by an ocean up to a mile (1.6 kilometers) deep in some places.Credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser

Three and a half billion years ago, a blood-red wall of water as tall as a skyscraper may have hurtled across the surface of Mars, inundating an area of land larger than the United States.

By Isobel Whitcomb | LiveScience

Two separate groups of astronomers first put forth the controversial theory in 2016. Their idea was based on „fingerprints“ of massive wave action left behind on the Martian landscape — the huge fields of boulders carved with rivulets, potentially left behind as the waves retreated back over the landscape.

Now, astronomers have another piece of evidence for such a tsunami. An enormous asteroid struck Mars just before waves, most-likely colored red due to the copious dust on the surface of Mars, inundated the planet. That collision have been ground zero for the „mega-tsunami.“ [The 7 Most Mars-like Places on Earth]

Francois Costard, an astronomer at the French National Centre for Scientific Research and among the first scientists to propose the tsunami theory, traced the wave’s path of destruction across the Martian landscape. His goal: to find a point of origin.

Scientists already suspected that an asteroid collision caused the possible massive tsunami. So, Costard and his colleagues narrowed the search down to 10 craters whose size and location made them possible origin spots. All models pointed toward one of those craters: Lomonosov, a 90-mile-wide (150-kilometers) scar in the Martian landscape.

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