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Plate tectonics discovered on Mars by UCLA scientist

An Yin said that by analyzing over 100 satellite images taken during NASA missions, he was able to determine that a trough system on Mars was created as a result of rifting, subsurface mass removal and strike-slip faulting - in other words, moving plates.

Mars valles marinerisEnlarge
A UCLA scientist says that he has discovered evidence of plate tectonics on Mars. (Wikipedia/Wikimedia commons)

A UCLA scientist says that he has discovered evidence of plate tectonics on Mars.

An Yin said that by analyzing over 100 satellite images taken during NASA missions, he was able to determine that a trough system on Mars was created as a result of rifting, subsurface mass removal and strike-slip faulting - in other words, moving plates.

The discovery that Earth is not the only planet subject to shifting plates under the surface is a discovery that took 40 years to make.

According to io9, Yin made the finding after comparing the satellite images to geological examples in the Himalayas, Tibet and California - places where major plates divide under the surface.

"When I studied the satellite images from Mars, many of the features looked very much like fault systems I have seen in the Himalayas and Tibet, and in California as well, including the geomorphology," said Yin, according to Red Orbit.

“Mars is at a primitive stage of plate tectonics. It gives us a glimpse of how the early Earth may have looked and may help us understand how plate tectonics began on Earth."

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Yin looked in particular at the origin of the Valles Marineris on Mars, which is said to be the longest trough system in the known solar system at 2500 miles long.

Scientists have been unable to figure out how the trough got there until now.

By comparing the trough to similar formations on Earth, Yin concluded that the trough is actually a plate boundary similar to the Earth's Dead Sea fault system.

Plate movements may also suggest that like Earth, Mars may have occasional earthquakes, said the Washington Post.

The findings were published in the journal Lithosophere.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/science/120810/plate-tectonics-discovered-mars-ucla-scientist