PSI Research Scientist Joseph R. Michalski has identified what could be a supervolcano on Mars – the first discovery of its kind. In a paper featured on the cover of the Oct. 3 issue of the journal Nature, Michalski and co-author Jacob E. Bleacher of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center described a new type of volcanic construction on Mars that until now has gone unrecognized.
The volcano in question, a vast circular basin on the face of the Red Planet, previously had been classified as an impact crater. Researchers now suggest the basin is actually the remains of an ancient supervolcano eruption. Their assessment is based on images and topographic data from NASA's Mars Odyssey, Mars Global Surveyor and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft, as well as the European Space Agency's Mars Express orbiter.
Above, Michalski discussed his findings at a gathering of Friends of PSI Oct. 29. Michalski also appeared on the AZ Illustrated Science television show Oct. 29 to discuss his research.
Below, the Nature magazine cover featuring Michalski’s research. Credit: Nature, Mark Garlick