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back to article Mars boffins: You fools! That's no CRATER – it's a SUPER VOLCANO

Ancient Mars could have been home to a type of supervolcano that affected its atmosphere and was partly responsible for the barren red planet scientists are exploring today. Eden Patera basin and surrounding area Boffins from the Planetary Science Institute and the NASA Goddard Space Flight Centre have postulated that a vast …

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Not a huge surprise

Mars' surface has had a pretty turbulent past - and I'd always thought that "crater" did look more like a caldera than an impact site - and not just that region, either. Orcus Patera looks to me like an eroded rift caldera.

A lot of reports mention Yellowstone as being an ancient supervolcano. That is is, but don't presume that ancient means extinct. It's far from that, and by most measures it's overdue another eruption.

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Joke

Re: Not a huge surprise

Don't worry about Yellowstone right now. Its currently in shutdown....

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Re: Not a huge surprise

No, they're maintaining life-critical services. And if Yellowstone goes pop, it's going to be critical for quite a lot of life...

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"Massive new type of volcano"

For a particular value of "new"...

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Call that a Super Volcano?

It looks more like a Jackson Pollock.

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Anonymous Coward

Stupid federal government

Had a great idea to look for some nice big images of Mars for my desktop. Oh well...

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Just one more reason

To send a private expedition of expendables to mars. (myself included)

http://www.mars-one.com/

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Anonymous Coward

what about the one we're exploring?

if we've dunked Oppy into what used to be a volcano is the data we get back going to be typical of the rest of Mars.

If it's not a Volcano, what if it's a massive impact site, and 'Mount Sharp' is the remains of the impactor rather than anything native to Mars.

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Re: what about the one we're exploring?

well, you're talking about a sequence of ïf"s, but...

The caldera of that volcano, once cooled down a bit, would make a lovely depression where water would collect. It would also keep that water at quite a nice temperature and environment for a number of "extremophiles" that are quite typical for life in earth's early development. In fact, as long as liquid water was present, the ecological conditions would be close to indistinguishable from early-biotic earth, even while the rest of the planets' climate would be going to hell in a handbasket, and would stay that way for a long time.

If any form of life was already present, it would have concentrated there. If it (still) was not, the conditions there would have been ideal for the final stages of formation. Either way, if there is *any* chance of finding evidence for past life on Mars, that caldera would be a prime spot to look for evidence of it.

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Coat

That's probably...

... just another buried Shadow vessel like the one at Syria Planum...

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Flame

That's not a volcano...

...it just the old, used up remnant of the inertial thruster systems the Martians used to try moving closer to the Sun when the catastrophic anthropomorphic global cooling got out of control.

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Nice

The more we learn about Mars the more we see aspects that remind us of things here on Earth.

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Anonymous Coward

"They compared the supervolcano’s eruption with a bottle of soda being shaken"

Like blowing too much air into a balloon!

It all makes sense now.

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That's no volcano.

"Hey, you'll never believe this"

- "wah?"

"you know the old Death Star mark 2s?"

- "before my aeon"

"yes you do. It was before we even knew how to goose stars into nova so we sent a ship instead"

- " oh. Vaguely. Wasn't that the one where we spent loads yet it got blown up with one fighter?. Good job guys."

"No, that was the Mark 1. Just too small so a bit vulnerable. The DS2s were chunkier."

- "yeah, yeah. Is this going anywhere?"

"Oh yes. Sorry. Well they should have all been decommissioned at least a galactic turn ago. But we lost a few. One's just come online."

- "crikey! It's still working? Where is it?"

"it says it's in the Sol system. The manifest says it was put there in a failsafe tech-detect mode. Apparently they were worried that the pond scum on planet 3 was getting organised. We missed it because we thought it was a duplicate."

- "oh yes, I'd seen a report on them. Trilobites or something. Didn't the rock get on the blitz list for asteroid impacts though?"

"yes, looks like the tough little critters survived. Now they've landed on the DS with some tech. Which set off the alarm."

- "well, surely it's slagged them then?"

"nah. Shut down. Control system went offline. Lost the atmos buffer so the old girl's taken a pounding. As soon as the power goes you lose the big storm system over the primary weapon and the rest goes with it. Main armament seems to have overheated too. You know what that does."

- "oh. filled the dish with magma! Blimey. What are we going to do when the Trills discover it's not a real geology? We'll be sacked!!! Goose that star quick, I don't care that it's not on the schedule. This is worse than that Andromeda cock up."

"Oh, don't worry. I've got a big old DS3 next orbit out. they'll think that's a natural storm. That bad boy's hot and ready to cook. Let me just...."*click*

And across the universe, billions of voices cried out and were suddenly silenced.

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