Republication from Sinc

Photo credit: Nextvoyage-Pixabay/NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

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By Enrique Sacristán

The Greek island of Santorini is now one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Mediterranean, but 3,600 years ago it suffered one of the largest volcanic eruptions recorded in history. Among the material that has been exposed, scientists have now found rocks similar to those of Mars.

“In the Balos Cove –located to the south of the island – we have discovered basalts such as those that have been identified by the rovers on Mars and with properties similar to those of certain meteorites from the red planet and those of terrestrial rocks classified as Martian analogues,” points out Ioannis Baziotis, a researcher at the Agricultural University of Athens and co-author of the study, recently published in Icarus journal.

More specifically, the authors have confirmed that this basaltic material is equivalent to that located by the Spirit and Curiosity rovers in the Gusev and Gale craters of the red planet, and that its chemical and mineralogical composition resembles that of genuinely Martian meteorites (olivine-phyric shergottites) and similar Martian samples included in The International Space Analogue Rockstore (ISAR), a collection of terrestrial rocks used to test and calibrate instruments that will fly on space missions.

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