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: Earthquakes occur in 4 parts of Alaska

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

Tropical Storm Genevieve forms in Eastern Pacific

14 hours ago

The seventh tropical depression of the Eastern Pacific Ocean formed and quickly ramped up to a tropical storm named "Genevieve." NOAA's GOES-West satellite captured an infrared image of the newborn storm ...

NASA maps Typhoon Matmo's Taiwan deluge

16 hours ago

When Typhoon Matmo crossed over the island nation of Taiwan it left tremendous amounts of rainfall in its wake. NASA used data from the TRMM satellite to calculate just how much rain fell over the nation.

User comments : 0