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Martian Cataclysm: Impact energy analysis in support of the origin of multiple anomolies on Mars
by Gary R. Spexarth

In The Mars Mystery: A Tale of the End of Two Worlds (1998) Graham Hancock presented evidence of a hidden menace lurking in our solar system – the fragments of a giant comet that passed close to Mars and to the Earth some 20,000 years ago and that broke up into dozens of fragments kilometres across. Hancock argued that it was an intense bombardment of these fragments that "killed" Mars – not millions of years ago, as most scientists still suppose, but very recently – and that our own planet's future may be threatened by the same orbiting cloud of debris. Now in a new study aerospace engineer Gary R. Spexarth re-examines the evidence of the Martian cataclysm. The heavily-cratered surface of Mars is generally estimated to be over 3 billion years old, he notes: "But what if it isn't 3 billion years old. What if the impacts did not occur slowly throughout the life of the planet but rather occurred suddenly, in a short amount of time. We may find that the current surface of Mars may only be thousands of years old instead of billions! Maybe in the near past it still had running water and an atmosphere! The implications of such are astounding!"

1.0 Background

Mars has several strange and unique features that have traditionally been explained based on standard geological processes thought to have taken place over billions of years (erosion, mantel convection, etc.) - thus suggesting that the planet has remained unchanged for three billion years. However, by analyzing Mars from an engineering perspective (rather than a geological one), a violent and cataclysmic past is unveiled. This paper looks at multiple anomalies of Mars, shows how they may be interrelated, and describes a very possible scenario, supported by analysis, that could have led to a violent and sudden transformation of the planet - possibly within a more recent timeframe.

In the Southern Hemisphere of the planet is a massive crater called the Hellas Impact Basin. It is approximately 2300 km in diameter and over 5 km deep. [1], [2]. This paper will show that the energy created by this impact was sufficient enough to destroy the planet and leave it in the cataclysmic state that we find it today.

Interestingly enough, there is a massive bulge in the planet exactly 180 degrees from the Hellas Basin [3] called the Tharsis Montes [1]. The Tharsis Montes is a region of "uplift" that rises 10 km above datum (average Mars elevation) and measures 4000 km across [1]. Additionally, located in the Tharsis region are several volcanoes, including Olympus Mons, the largest volcano in the solar system, at an elevation of over 20 km high. Adjacent to Olympus Mons is the Valles Marineris, a massive canyon system in the planet that is approximately 4000 km long and 7 km deep [1] (approximately the distance from California to New York). Another interesting region is the Northern Lowlands, which is located in the northern hemisphere and lies at 8 km below datum.

The above features can be seen in Figures-1 & 6, which were produced by the Mars Orbital Laser Altimeter instrument [4]. The maps are color-coded topography maps, with elevations shown in their legends.

In addition, the rate of rotation of Mars is much slower that expected, compared with the angular momentum of the rest of the terrestrial planets [5]. Also, Mars has a "deficient" magnetic field. It has been estimated that the magnetic field is two orders of magnitude less than is expected, based on its physical properties [6]. There are also evidence of past oceans that are now dried up, and a once-present atmosphere that no longer exist. Another strange feature is that 93% of craters greater than 30 km in diameter lie in the southern hemisphere [7].

Could it be that these anomalies are actually battle scars that have been caused by a massive impact (Hellas Basin) that destroyed the planet? This paper will show, and provide supporting mathematical analysis, that this may be the case.

Although the traditional geological explanation of these features state that Mars has essentially remained unchanged for billions of years, this paper will show that a violent and destructive transformation could have taken place in our near past and we may never know the exact timeframe until we visit and explore the planet firsthand.

Figure 1
Figure-1: MOLA Topography Globe with Items of Interest Labeled [4] (labels added by author)
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