Mars landslides may not hint at presence of ice on Red Planet
When the massive landslide on Mars was discovered by scientists they thought it to be something similar. The long curved ridges of cascading material were similar to some of the landslides that were observed on Earth.
The fact that landslides on earth were mostly associated with ice present below the ground, made this comparison all the more exciting. This made the scientists to believe that some similar phenomenon might have occurred in the Mars before some 400 million years when the landslide might have occurred. The presence of ice meant water and water meant potential for life and this made the idea all the more attractive. However, unfortunately a recent study has found that water and ice may not necessarily be factors behind this.
Scientists thought that it might be the presence of ice that might have resulted in the formation of unique landslides on the Mars and they wanted to make this sure. As a beginning point, three-dimensional scans were used by the scientists for testing the possibility that a similar feature may be created by a landslide which moves at high speeds. They found that sprawling remnants of landslides may be produced by the materials which have tumbled from great heights and landed on Martian mountains. The presence of rocky and unstable surfaces might have allowed landslides to have speeds above 200miles per hour and the unique ridges that are seen today might be because of the materials that have been carried over vast distances.
The first author of the study, Giulia Magnarini said that they have found from their study that ice was not necessarily a prerequisite for such types of geological structures on Mars. She said that this study has helped them in understanding how the Martian landscape was shaped and also has implications on how landslides are formed on other planets like earth and also moon.