An Evolved Early Crust Exposed on Mars Revealed Through Spectroscopy

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1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Mars early crust is more complex than homogenously basaltic with evolved magmatism evidenced by intermediate and felsic igneous rocks found in various locations in the southern hemisphere and martian meteorites. Geophysical constraints argue against a dense thick basaltic crust in the southern hemisphere, rather consistent with a buried light crust (<3,100 kg m−3), possibly evolved, underneath a basaltic surface. One of the oldest crustal components accessible at the surface of Mars, Terra Cimmeria/Sirenum (TSC), presents geochemical anomalies potentially suggesting an evolved crustal component at depth. Using visible/near infrared spectroscopy, we identify nine excavated feldspar-rich locations in this region, and thermal infrared data suggest a silica concentration corresponding to intermediate compositions. The low density of such terrains compared to basalts supports that TSC crustal component is evolved. Early crusts of planetary bodies in the solar system were thus not restricted to basaltic compositions, and evolved crusts might have been widespread.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2022GL099639
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Volume49
Issue number21
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 16 2022

Keywords

  • evolved crust
  • feldspar-rich
  • Mars
  • Noachian
  • Terra Cimmeria
  • Terra Sirenum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

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