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New evidence for a magmatic influence on the origin of Valles Marineris, Mars

Dohm, James M. and Williams, Jean-Pierre and Anderson, Robert C. and Ruiz Pérez, Javier and McGuire, Patrick C. and Komatsu, Goro and Davila, Alfonso F. and Ferris, Justin C. and Baker, Victor R. and Boynton, William V. and Fairén, Alberto G. and Hare, Trent M. and Miyamoto, Hirdy and Tanaka, Kennth L. and Wheelock, Shawn J. (2009) New evidence for a magmatic influence on the origin of Valles Marineris, Mars. Journal of volcanology and geothermal research, 185 . pp. 12-27. ISSN 0377-0273

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Abstract

In this paper, we show that the complex geological evolution of Valles Marineris, Mars, has been highly
influenced by the manifestation of magmatism (e.g., possible plume activity). This is based on a diversity of
evidence, reported here, for the central part, Melas Chasma, and nearby regions, including uplift, loss of huge
volumes of material, flexure, volcanism, and possible hydrothermal and endogenic-induced outflow channel
activity. Observations include: (1) the identification of a new N50 km-diameter caldera/vent-like feature on
the southwest flank of Melas, which is spatially associated with a previously identified center of tectonic
activity using Viking data; (2) a prominent topographic rise at the central part of Valles Marineris, which
includes Melas Chasma, interpreted to mark an uplift, consistent with faults that are radial and concentric
about it; (3) HiRISE-identified landforms along the floor of the southeast part of Melas Chasma that are
interpreted to reveal a volcanic field; (4) CRISM identification of sulfate-rich outcrops, which could be
indicative of hydrothermal deposits; (5) GRS K/Th signature interpreted as water–magma interactions and/
or variations in rock composition; and (6) geophysical evidence that may indicate partial compensation of
the canyon and/or higher density intrusives beneath it. Long-term magma, tectonic, and water interactions
(Late Noachian into the Amazonian), albeit intermittent, point to an elevated life potential, and thus Valles
Marineris is considered a prime target for future life detection missions.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Mars, Valles Marineris, Tharsis, Plume, Superplume, Magma, Water, Canyon System, Life
Subjects:Sciences > Geology > Geodynamics
ID Code:10517
Deposited On:07 Jul 2010 07:51
Last Modified:26 Aug 2010 09:09

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