NASA discovers granite on Mars

As per a research team from the US space agency NASA, granite – an igneous rock common on Earth— could be found in abundance on Mars. The research backed by the NASA Mars Data Analysis Program strengthens the evidence for granite on Mars by using remote sensing techniques with infrared spectroscopy to survey a large volcano on Mars that was active for billions of years.

The ancient Martian volcano has large amounts of a mineral found in granite called feldspar. Minerals that are common in basalts rich in iron and magnesium are nearly completely absent here.

For a long time Mars was understood to be geologically simplistic consisting mostly of one type of rock as opposed to the complex geology of Earth. Most of the surface of Mars is covered by dark-coloured volcanic rocks called basalt.

How the granite could have formed on Mars?

The location of the feldspar near the volcano can explain the formation of granite Mars. It occurs by a process called fractionation in which the magma slowly cools in the subsurface and low density melt separates from dense crystals. The cycle is repeated again and again for millennia until granite is formed. Granite or its eruptive equivalent rhyolite is often found on Earth in tectonically active regions. Though this is improbable on Mars but the scientists concluded that extended magmatic activity on Mars can also produce it on a large scale.



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