A fire that has been burning in a cave in Oman for at least 4,000 years has been photographed burning hot enough to melt lead on Mars, a researcher wrote on Monday in The Journal of Ice & Chemistry.
Yonghou Lu, who is an associate professor of chemistry at City University of New York, said that he was able to identify the lead when he compared photographs of the fire with pictures taken from Mars of the red planet and Earth in different times.
According to Lu, dark circles and patches on the planet’s surface signal ancient civilisations and extreme weather events that led to the formation of volcanoes, but lead can’t burn through the Martian atmosphere.
Lu said that he found “toxic gases, high-density carbon monoxide, and sulphur dioxide emanating from the cave.”
The man-made environment was created when “hot rocks” were stacked up in the side of the chamber to heat it up.
Even though it may look like pyroclastic or monsoon steam, the temperature of the cave is rarely hotter than 50 degrees Celsius.
Read the full story at Slate.
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