Largest Known Landslide Discovered on Mars

080105 biggest landslide mars big
Check out this story from National Geographic today. It seems researchers have discovered the largest ever landslide on the surface of Mars. How large you ask? Good question! How about a landslide the size of the United States?

The Martian surface has a number of distinct geographic regions, much like here on Earth. For instance, in the north, they have a lowlands region that is relatively smooth, and in the south there is a more rugged, mountainous area. In between the two is a region called Arabia Terra, whose origins have long been a mystery.

Now, scientists believe that an astroid the size of Texas smashed into the surface of the Red Planet causing a massive landslide from the southern highlands, that created the distinct Arabia Terra zone that marks the border between north and south. The impact of that massive object was enough to create all three of these regions in a single strike.

Pretty crazy stuff. Can you imagine what an impact like that would do to the Earth? Geologically speaking, this is really amazing. It seems that in this case, the landslide also extended quite deep into the surface of the planet, with major shifting of the surface happening in a relatively quick process.

Kraig Becker

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