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Are Martian Volacnos Actually Huge Geysers?


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#1    Chauncy

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Posted 25 November 2006 - 03:30 AM

The more I look at the photos the more I get the feeling that the surface of Mars has been sculpted from hydrogeolgical processes......mainly geysers.

I wouldn't be surprised if we find that alot of the volcanoes on Mars turn out to be geysers as apposed to magmatic.

An interesting thing to note is the fact that geysers spew forth natural greenhouse gases. A geyser the size of Olympus Mons could release enough of these planet warming gases to create an atmosphere.
http://www.uweb.ucsb.edu/~glennon/geysers/

The plumbing system in geysers is extremely fragile aswell, one meteor strike with techtonic reaction would destroy these life giving geysers.
http://www.umich.edu/~gs265/geysers.html

Just something to think about.

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#2    Waspie_Dwarf

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Posted 25 November 2006 - 10:03 AM

A simple question Chauncy, how could a geyser generate a shield volcano 15 miles high? Surely Olympus Mons and the other Tharsis volcanoes must have been magmatic.

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#3    Chauncy

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Posted 25 November 2006 - 03:47 PM

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A simple question Chauncy, how could a geyser generate a shield volcano 15 miles high? Surely Olympus Mons and the other Tharsis volcanoes must have been magmatic.
   The Mons is in fact 624 km (374 mi) in diameter (approximately the same size as the state of Arizona), 25 km (16 mi) high, and is rimmed by a 6 km (4 mi) high scarp. A caldera 80 km (50 mi) wide

Geysers here on Earth, specifically cone geysers, upon erruption bring forth silicon dioxide with the water. Silicon dioxide aids in sealing the intricate plumbing system beneath the geyser  which forms an air tight "pressure cooker" effect. This silicon dioxide also forms an encrustation around the opening vent often called geyserite. This has an almost oozing charateristic when combined with mud. Since the heat source for geysers is in fact magmatic, sulfuric acid is also found in the expulsion which melts rock and soil creating a sludge.
http://www.unmuseum.org/geygal.htm

Olympus Mons is over 20 times wider than it is tall providing a very gentle slope which could very well be as a result of this "oozing effect" described above. Millions of eruptions would create such a huge geyserite type mound.
http://volcano.und.edu/vwdocs/planet_volca...ympus_mons.html

Another odd characteristic of Olympus Mons is the cliff that surrounds the base of it. This is a scarp with a straight drop of 6km in some spots. To this day the reason and cause for this, "cliff type" base surronding Olympus Mons, is not understood.

In my own opinion there is a good reason for this oddly formed base to Olympus Mons. Geysers are usually surronded by an over flow pool. A geyser the size of Olympus Mons after millions of years of activity would form a great ocean of an overflow pool around its base. Therefore the base of the great Olympus Mons was eroded from tidal type activity as a result of it's own overflow pool.
http://www.exploringmars.com/science/images/3dom.jpg
http://www.solarviews.com/browse/mars/olympus2.gif

Again this is my own opinion, but geyser activity would explain alot of the unanswered questions as to "how" and "why" Olympus Mons is what it is. Olympus Mons as a geyser would also explain how Mars achieved an atmosphere conducive to life and the destruction of such would also explain the depletion and eventual death of it's atmosphere.

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#4    Waspie_Dwarf

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Posted 25 November 2006 - 11:46 PM

OK, next question, What atmosphere conducive to life? What evidence do you have that such an atmosphere existed.

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#5    Chauncy

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Posted 26 November 2006 - 04:26 AM

Just a hunch...quite simply a hunch Waspie.

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#6    Steeler Mania

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Posted 26 November 2006 - 12:03 PM

Interesting, Chauncy.
The last photo of the lake was very interesting.

That could explain Mons on Mars. Geisers do expell large amounts of water, vapor, minerals, mud and gases into the atmosphere, just like volcanos, only not as destructive.

The picture of Mons and that lake look very similar.


#7    Chauncy

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Posted 26 November 2006 - 04:16 PM

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Posted Yesterday, 11:46 PM
  OK, next question, What atmosphere conducive to life? What evidence do you have that such an atmosphere existed.


Mars is at the top of the list of possible life-bearing planets.
http://www.astrobio.net/news/Topic6.html

We have gleaned some very good evidence of erosion in many places on Mars,like large floods and evidence of river systems. At some point in Martian history there was some type of fluid on the surface. Liquid water is the likely culprit.

  Images taken by the Mars Global Surveyor and mineralogy findings from Opportunity show that there may have been vast oceans and rivers on the planet at some point in its past.
http://www.msss.com/mars_images/moc/themes/LAYERS.html
http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2004/02...r.htm?list25890

Mars does have a thin atmosphere made up mostly of tiny amounts of carbon dioxide (95.3%), nitrogen (2.7%), argon (1.6%), traces of oxygen (0.15%), water (0.03%). The average pressure on Mars is about 7 millibars thats less than 1% of Earth's.This pressure changes immensely with altitude from 9 millibars in the deepest basins to 1 millibar at the apex of Olympus Mons.

Mars' thin atmosphere produces a greenhouse effect but it is only enough to raise the surface temperature by 5 degrees. This also changes dramatically with the seasonal melting of the polar ice caps found on the planet and the resulting relase of carbon dioxide.Some areas of Mars reach a temperature of 20 degrees celsius...thats a comfortable room temperature here on earth.
http://www-k12.atmos.washington.edu/k12/re...e_overview.html


So what are we looking at here? Simply a non-existant atmosphere, or a weakened atmosphere? If we take into consideration what we see today and the possibility of some of the great volcanoes actually being geysers then we do have the makings of a very warm almost tropical type environment at some time in the Martian past.

We also know that Mars was pelted with critical objects in its' past. Today we have a total lack of information in regards to the Martian atmosphere prior to these impacts. It is these impacts that may have destroied the atmosphere, the remnants of that atmosphere is what we see today.
http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap960203.html

Of course we have evidence of methane existing in the atmosphere aswell. The quirky thing about methane is that it can only exist for approximately 7 hours in the martian atmosphere, so to detect it today logically means that it is constantly being replenished. One option for the replenishment of methane in an atmosphere is an organic process of some kind.
http://www.astrobio.net/news/article1207.html
http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/0504...rs_methane.html
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/20...rs_methane.html

Again this is my opinion......I think we should do the responsible thing and that is to allow future scientific discovery to dictate fact from fiction, indeed to dictate what is and what once was.







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#8    Waspie_Dwarf

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Posted 26 November 2006 - 09:55 PM

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The picture of Mons and that lake look very similar.


They may look similar but there is a major difference... scale. These geyser cones rise only a few tens offeet in height, not miles and certainly not 3 times higher than Everest. The silicate deposits that make up a geyser cone are simply not strong enough to support the weight of a mountain that high, it would collapse long before then.

On top of this even the largest geysers on Earth produce cones at a rate of 1 inch per hundred years (most geysers do not form a cone at all). That would mean that Olympus Mons would take longer than 100 million years to form. This would require that magma and vast quantities od water remain in the same place for all that time.

If you have that much magma isn't it simpler to assume that volcanoes would form?

The evidence is overwhelming that the Tharsis volcanoes are exactly that, volcanoes.

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#9    Chauncy

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Posted 26 November 2006 - 11:26 PM

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On top of this even the largest geysers on Earth produce cones at a rate of 1 inch per hundred years (most geysers do not form a cone at all). That would mean that Olympus Mons would take longer than 100 million years to form. This would require that magma and vast quantities od water remain in the same place for all that time.


The fact is that the magma and water would remain in the same spot for that time. Mars has very little techtonic activity.
http://www.ocean.washington.edu/people/gra...rch/mars95.html

Also taking into consideration that there may very well be vast supplies of water underground on mars. The planet appears to have been extremely wet at sometime in its history and has a landscape that may be a result of geothermal activity.
http://www.physorg.com/news10426.html

As with all data reported from the red planet it is all up for interpretation, that is untill we achieve future discovery.




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#10    Waspie_Dwarf

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Posted 26 November 2006 - 11:54 PM

That still does not take into account that a silicate cone simply can not grow that large. Even taking into account the lower Martian gravity it just would not grow above a few hundred feet. There is no possible way that these are geyser cones. Sorry but your hunch is not supported by the facts.

"Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-boggingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the street to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space." - The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams 1952 - 2001

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#11    Chauncy

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Posted 16 April 2014 - 12:24 PM

It seems that a lot of the questions posed in this article can be explained by geysers on Mars. Indeed any type of geothermally sustained atmosphere would answer these mysteries.
http://news.discover...ater-140415.htm

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#12    Kenemet

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Posted 16 April 2014 - 10:33 PM

View PostChauncy, on 16 April 2014 - 12:24 PM, said:

It seems that a lot of the questions posed in this article can be explained by geysers on Mars. Indeed any type of geothermally sustained atmosphere would answer these mysteries.
http://news.discover...ater-140415.htm

What the OP isn't aware of is that in order to have a geyser, you need to have active vulcanism in that immediate area.  While it might not be in a state of eruption (Yellowstone), it is nevertheless an active area.

In addition, geysers are small.  While supervolcanoes (Siberian traps, Deccan traps) can spew out thousands of cubic miles of ash and lava every year and run for millions of years or more, the largest geysers are only capable of a mere fraction of that.  In the thousands of years that geysers have been spouting in Yellowstone, they've barely made an impact (compared to what the supervolcano produced) in the area.


#13    Chauncy

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Posted 17 April 2014 - 11:00 AM

View PostKenemet, on 16 April 2014 - 10:33 PM, said:

What the OP isn't aware of is that in order to have a geyser, you need to have active vulcanism in that immediate area.  While it might not be in a state of eruption (Yellowstone), it is nevertheless an active area.

In addition, geysers are small.  While supervolcanoes (Siberian traps, Deccan traps) can spew out thousands of cubic miles of ash and lava every year and run for millions of years or more, the largest geysers are only capable of a mere fraction of that.  In the thousands of years that geysers have been spouting in Yellowstone, they've barely made an impact (compared to what the supervolcano produced) in the area.

Your absolutely right. When looking at geysers here on Earth. This doesn't mean that geysers on Mars would be the same size. Although the mechanics of geysers would be the same , the size and pressure within them could be much more powerful with lower gravity.

Not to mention that the internal plumbing of geysers is very fragile and could be destroyed easily by quakes or meteor strikes. The Mars rovers are investigating meteor craters right now.

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#14    Kenemet

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Posted 17 April 2014 - 03:55 PM

View PostChauncy, on 17 April 2014 - 11:00 AM, said:

Your absolutely right. When looking at geysers here on Earth. This doesn't mean that geysers on Mars would be the same size. Although the mechanics of geysers would be the same , the size and pressure within them could be much more powerful with lower gravity.

In fact, the pressure would be much less.  Higher pressure would launch the material into orbit around Mars.


#15    taniwha

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Posted 18 April 2014 - 12:39 AM

View PostChauncy, on 16 April 2014 - 12:24 PM, said:

It seems that a lot of the questions posed in this article can be explained by geysers on Mars. Indeed any type of geothermally sustained atmosphere would answer these mysteries.
http://news.discover...ater-140415.htm

I have heard nothing to counter this theory so I agree with you it is very possible geyser activity helped sculpter gelogical features.







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