Mars Volcano Died at Same Time As Dinosaurs

Around the same time that the dinosaurs became extinct on Earth, a volcano on Mars went dormant, NASA researchers have learned.

Arsia Mons is the southernmost volcano in a group of three massive Martian volcanoes known collectively as Tharsis Montes. Until now, the volcano’s history has remained a mystery. But thanks to a new computer model, scientists were finally able to figure out when Arsia Mons stopped spewing out lava.

According to the model, volcanic activity at Arsia Mons came to a halt about 50 million years ago. Around that same time, Earth experienced the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event, which wiped out three-quarters of its animal and plant species, including the dinosaurs.

(Image: This digital-image mosaic of Mars’ Tharsis plateau shows the extinct volcano Arsia Mons. It was assembled from images that the Viking 1 Orbiter took during its 1976 to 1980 working life at Mars. Credit: NASA/JPL/USGS)

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