The study by the European team of scientists simulated the development of mud on the outside of Mars. Carved out tunnels and mounds of debris on the Red Planet are similar to pahoehoes - lava flows - found in the likes of Hawaii and Iceland. And this could have led to sedimentary volcanism, where pieces of rock and water explode like mud.
A new study seems to indicate that lava-like formations have appeared on the surface of Mars, and they could actually be the product of a form of mud that flowed in the same way that lava does.
We have mud volcanoes here on Earth, so it's not such a huge surprise that they could be forming on other planets too. "This means that we have to be very careful in our interpretation when we see what look, at first sight, like lava flows on Mars", Lionel Wilson, Emeritus Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Lancaster University, told ZME Science.
The tests were carried out in low temperatures of around minus 20C, and low atmospheric pressure of around 7 millibars, to mimic the Martian environment.
Using simulated Mars conditions, researchers were able to create mud flows that look a lot like cooled lava flows.
The results, which have now been published in the journal Nature Geoscience, add important details to the existing knowledge of Mars and its history, which has been shaped by volcanic activity.
On Earth, when mudflows it generally seeps back into the surface due to the conditions of our planet.
"This reminds us that Mars is as complicated and diverse as the Earth in terms of the processes going on in its interior".
These findings were somewhat unexpected, as comparable geological processes on other bodies in the Solar System are thought to occur in a similar way to conventional volcanic processes on Earth.
"Our experiments show that even a process as apparently simple as the flow of mud - something that many of us have experienced for ourselves since we were children - would be very different on Mars", Broz provides. Radiation poses a big problem on Mars due to its very weak magnetic field and thin atmosphere.
An uncommon laboratory experiment involving the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum fuer Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) has now been in a position to present how mud flows at very low temperatures and below diminished atmospheric stress. Under such circumstances, liquid water on the Martian floor will not be steady and begins to boil and evaporate.
However, under terrestrial atmospheric pressure, the experimental mud flows did not form lava shapes, did not expand, and had no icy crust, even under very cold conditions.
In a section transition, resembling throughout a freezing or thawing course of, latent warmth is launched or absorbed by a cloth with out altering its temperature. In the experiment, this happened when liquid mud spilled from ruptures in the frozen crust, then refroze.
Mars' surface is covered in all sorts of features, which all point to the distant past if the planet. When mud escapes onto the Martian floor, it is ready to move for a while earlier than it solidifies because of the low temperatures.
He said: "We have a tendency to expect that geological processes, like mud movement, would be operating elsewhere in the Solar System in a similar fashion as on Earth".
"We found that low viscosity mud under Martian conditions propagates differently from that on Earth, because of rapid freezing and the formation of an icy crust".