The Geology of Mars

Mars’ rocky surface has craters that differ between the southern and northern hemispheres!

My previous blog discussed the geology of Venus, so this week I thought it would be fun to research the geology and makeup of Mars! Mars and Earth have more similarities than you would think. Having a similar axis tilt, a day just slightly longer than 24 hours, similar land areas because of Earth’s oceans, the presence of polar caps, and season variations during the Martian year, which is about 1.9 Earth years, Mars is not too different than Earth in these aspects.

Like Earth, Mars also experiences many different geological processes. One process is the impact catering on Mars. In the southern hemisphere, Mars has a high elevation and there are many scars from large impact craters that have landed on the planet. In the northern hemisphere, there is a lower elevation and not as many impact craters. Scientists say that these differences between the hemispheres shows us that the southern highlands are an older surface than the northern ones. Moreover, this also suggests that the northern plains had many of their impact craters destroyed by other geological processes. The main geological process that erased these northern land craters was volcanism. On the surface of mars, there are many volcanoes that have rising mantle material which erupt and erase craters. While we have not observed any active volcanic activity on Mars, I think it would be extremely fascinating to observe one. Maybe this could give us even more insight into the differences of elevations and craters on the planet’s surface. What do you think observing an exploding volcano on Mars would tell us? Furthermore, mars also has tectonic plates and erosion. It is crazy that most of the things that happen on Earth also happen on this planet!

Sources: Bennett, The Cosmic Perspective, 8th Edition 2017

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