Evidence for magmatic evolution and diversity on Mars from infrared observations

Philip Christensen, H. Y. McSween, J. L. Bandfield, Steven Ruff, A. D. Rogers, V. E. Hamilton, N. Gorelick, M. B. Wyatt, B. M. Jakosky, H. H. Kieffer, M. C. Malin, J. E. Moersch

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135 Scopus citations

Abstract

Compositional mapping of Mars at the 100-metre scale with the Mars Odyssey Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) has revealed a wide diversity of igneous materials. Volcanic evolution produced compositions from low-silica basalts to high-silica dacite in the Syrtis Major caldera. The existence of dacite demonstrates that highly evolved lavas have been produced, at least locally, by magma evolution through fractional crystallization. Olivine basalts are observed on crater floors and in layers exposed in canyon walls up to 4.5 km beneath the surface. This vertical distribution suggests that olivine-rich lavas were emplaced at various times throughout the formation of the upper crust, with their growing inventory suggesting that such ultramafic (picritic) basalts may be relatively common. Quartz-bearing granitoid rocks have also been discovered, demonstrating that extreme differentiation has occurred. These observations show that the martian crust, while dominated by basalt, contains a diversity of igneous materials whose range in composition from picritic basalts to granitoids rivals that found on the Earth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)504-509
Number of pages6
JournalNature
Volume436
Issue number7050
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 28 2005

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    Christensen, P., McSween, H. Y., Bandfield, J. L., Ruff, S., Rogers, A. D., Hamilton, V. E., Gorelick, N., Wyatt, M. B., Jakosky, B. M., Kieffer, H. H., Malin, M. C., & Moersch, J. E. (2005). Evidence for magmatic evolution and diversity on Mars from infrared observations. Nature, 436(7050), 504-509. https://doi.org/10.1038/nature03639