Hundreds of feet beneath the surface of Mars, scientists discover ancient lava.

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Hundreds of feet beneath the surface of Mars, scientists discover ancient lava.

Scientists have used sophisticated tools to peek more than 600 feet into the surface of Mars, and their findings are compatible with evidence of dried lava flows from billions of years ago.

The researchers’ methods involved observing what are known as Rayleigh waves. These waves travel across solid surfaces in the same way that rolling waves travel across water.

Rayleigh waves have long been studied. When scientists examine them here on Earth, they can provide information about the material that makes up the surface beneath them.

Vibrations in the earth can be created by a variety of natural events on Earth, including ocean action and human activities. These two variables, however, are absent on Mars. The scientists had no choice but to rely on the wind.

When the Martian wind collides with the planet’s surface, it creates minute ambient vibrations or waves that can be detected by sensitive detectors.

Although Mars does not have seismic monitoring stations like Earth, it does have NASA’s InSight Mars Lander, which was launched in 2018.

The InSight lander was created to use a seismometer to dig beneath Mars’ surface and learn more about what’s beneath the planet’s surface, what it’s made of, and how it formed 4.5 billion years ago.

Researchers were able to detect very minute vibrations in Mars’ surface induced by the wind using the seismometer, even though the size of these vibrations was “substantially” smaller than what would be seen on Earth, according to the report.

According to the researchers, “With its geophysical sensor suite, InSight is the first mission capable of exploring the near-surface beyond a few millimeters of depth.”

The scientists stated they were able to trace roughly 200 meters (656 feet) beneath Mars’ surface using data collected from seismic tremors.

Their findings backed with the existence of ancient dried lava flow stacks beneath the planet’s surface, indicating a highly volcanic past. They also discovered a sedimentary layer sandwiched between volcanic rocks at a depth of 30 to 75 meters.

“The good thing about this investigation is it presents a fairly clear picture,” William Banerdt, one of the scientists behind the study and a principal investigator on the InSight project, told Inverse. This is a condensed version of the information.

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