Mysterious “Mars Island”, where the meteorite collision occurred 23 million years ago

Mysterious “Mars Island”, where the meteorite collision occurred 23 million years ago

As the world’s largest uninhabited island, Devon Island with an area of ​​​​up to 55,247 square kilometers is likened to “a miniature Mars“ on the planet.

With an area of 55,247 square kilometers, Devon is the largest uninhabited island in the world

Located in Baffin Bay, Qikiqtaaluk region of Nunavut territory, the great island of Devon was discovered by two English explorers, William Baffin and Robert Bylot, in 1616.

There were 53 Inuit families who moved to Devon Island in 1934 with the hope of starting a new life there. But all efforts were unsuccessful when the island’s harsh conditions forced them to migrate elsewhere just two years later.

Pascal Lee, President of the Mars Institute and Director of the Haughton-Mars Project, a field research project on Devon Island, said: “Devon is the largest stretch of barren, rocky, cold and dry terrain we have ever encountered. I’ve seen.”

The barren terrain and harsh climate on the island is known as ’Mars on Earth’

Deep V-shaped canyons and a large crater created by a meteorite impact about 23 million years ago make this island the most similar structure to the ’Red planet’ on Earth.

Since 1997, Devon Island has been a field deployment site for scientists and astronauts wanting to learn more about the Moon and Mars.

Image comparing the terrain on Mars with the terrain on Devon Island provided by NASA

In the summer of 2018, Mr. Lee and a team of researchers set out to create a panorama to as‌sess the environment of this particular island.

Located at an altitude of about 600 m in the west and gradually increasing to 1920 m in the east, the average annual temperature on the island is recorded as -16°C and a third of the eastern Devon area is permanently covered. by an ice sheet 500 to 700 meters thick.

Scientists also regularly test self-driving cars here

Devon Island has very limited rainfall and is rarely warmed by the Sun. These are also factors that affect life on this island.

The most prominent feature of ’Mars Island’ is the 22 km wide Haughton crater with a very cold, dry and rocky environment. This is also where researchers regularly test unmanned survey robots or all-terrain vehicles.

The area outside the Haughton crater has rough terrain

The area outside the Haughton crater has rough terrain. The land masses here are separated by small grooves, similar to images of the surface of Mars sent back from space. That’s why Devon is the perfect destination for astronauts before going on a real trip.

But despite its remoteness, Devon Island has been witnessing the effects of climate change.

The rapid melting of ice makes Devon Island even more barren

In the more than 25 years of working on the island, Lee and his team have never seen ice melt as fast as it does now. This makes the island even more barren.

“We are now seeing geology emerging from under layers of ice that have existed for millennia. Because this is the land where sunlight has shined for the past 12,000 years,” said Mr. Lee.

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