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Powerful volcanic activity gave Mars an extreme makeover billions of years ago, a new study found.

The event particularly reshaped the red planet and caused major changes in its weight and orientation. This means that the north and south poles of Mars are no longer where they used to be.

Aside from that, the discovery also explains the current locations of the dry river beds and water ice, as well as other Martian mysteries that have left scientists baffled for a long time.

"This study radically changes our perception of the surface of Mars as it was 4 billion years ago, and also significantly alters the chronology of events," the press release for the study reads.

Tharsis And The Great Martian Shift

The flow of lava from the volcanic activity generated a plateau called Tharsis dome, which measures 2,000 square miles in width and 7.5 miles in thickness.

Tharsis is the largest volcanic complex in Mars and contains three enormous and nine smaller volcanoes. These volcanoes are said to be 100 times larger than any of the Earth's volcanoes.

Such measurements may appear extreme for a planet which diameter is just about 50 percent of the Earth's.

Study author Sylvain Bouley describes the Tharsis as huge, particularly in relation to the size of the red planet. "It's an aberration," he says.

The volcanic disturbance, which happened 3 to 3.5 billion years ago, shifted Mars' surface by up to 20 to 25 degrees.

The resulting rock formation on the surface was so huge that it tilted the two outermost layers of Mars — the crust and mantle. The layers swiveled around, resembling that of a peach flesh rotating from its pit.

Rivers And Dry Riverbeds

The authors then performed mathematical computations and computer simulations of this discovery, giving them answers to what used to be perplexing questions about Mars.

One of the things that the research sheds light upon is the position of the Martian rivers. Scientists have been baffled as to arbitrary positioning of past rivers and current dry riverbeds. Now, if experts will consider the shift in the surface discovered by Bouley and colleagues, they will come to realize that the structures are all in the same tropical band.

Read More: Techtimes

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