Massive asteroid impact may have triggered the Martian megatsunami

An asteroid impact similar to the Chicxulub collision, a significant asteroid impact that resulted in the mass extinction of most dinosaurs on Earth, that occurred in a shallow ocean zone, was likely the origin of a megatsunami on Mars.

Previously, researchers have proposed that an asteroid impact on a Martian ocean in the northern lowlands caused a tsunami around three billion years ago. For the new study published in the journal Scientific Reports, researchers analysed maps of Mars’s surface which were created using images from previous missions to the planet. Prior to this study, the location of the impact crater was unclear.

The crater in issue has a diameter of 110 kilometres and is situated in an area where earlier research indicated an ocean may have once been present. According to the authors of the current study, an asteroid collision may have caused this crater to emerge some 3.4 billion years ago.

To put it into perspective, the Tsar Bomba, the most potent thermonuclear weapon ever tested, produced energy equivalent to about 57 tonnes of TNT. However, both of these speculative collisions would result in craters 110 kilometres in diameter and tsunamis that may travel up to 1,500 kilometres from the impact site.

According to the experts, this impact may have shared many parallels with the Chicxulub impact, which may have caused enormous megatsunamis and earthquakes.