Alternative Mars volcanism theory offered

Aug 06, 2007

German scientists have offered an alternative theory involving Martian volcanism.

Sandra Schumacher of the Institute for Planetology at the University of Munster and Doris Breuer of the Institute of Planet Research in Berlin note high-resolution images of Martian volcanoes reveal areas of lava flow.

The youngest flows are about 2 million years old, as evidenced by the lack of impact craters on the flows, and are confined to older volcanoes exhibiting a thickened crust compared with surrounding areas.

Previous studies explained the recent volcanics by hypothesizing strong mantle plumes arising from the core-mantle boundary fueled the melts.

Schumacher and Breuer propose a different hypothesis, whereby the crust insulates the mantle, causing it to cool more slowly than previously expected. Through model simulations, they determined a locally thickened crust with a reduced thermal conductivity and enriched in radioactive heat sources in comparison to the mantle could generate temperature variations in the upper mantle.

Such variations could form partial melts below the crustal lid, which, being more buoyant than surrounding material, could ooze onto the Martian surface.

The theory is detailed in the current issue of the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

Explore further: Coral reveals long-term link between Pacific winds, global climate

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Construction to begin on 2016 NASA Mars lander

May 20, 2014

(Phys.org) —NASA and its international partners now have the go-ahead to begin construction on a new Mars lander, after it completed a successful Mission Critical Design Review on Friday.

First meteorite linked to Martian crust

Jan 03, 2013

After extensive analyses by a team of scientists led by Carl Agee at the University of New Mexico, researchers have identified a new class of Martian meteorite that likely originated from the Mars's crust. ...

Recommended for you

Methane is leaking from permafrost offshore Siberia

8 hours ago

Yamal Peninsula in Siberia has recently become world famous. Spectacular sinkholes, appeared as out of nowhere in the permafrost of the area, sparking the speculations of significant release of greenhouse ...

New discovery in Arctic is a very old clam

9 hours ago

The rapidly thawing Arctic Ocean may be a new frontier but some of the latest news from there concerns a clam that is believed to date back more than a million years.

Researchers on expedition to solve 'small island problem'

9 hours ago

Researchers from the Department of Electronic & Electrical Engineering are starting their new year with an expedition to the island of South Georgia to carry out research into improving weather forecasting. You can follow the team's progress on their blog. ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.