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Journal ArticleDOI

Global distribution of crustal magnetization discovered by the mars global surveyor MAG/ER experiment

30 Apr 1999-Science (American Association for the Advancement of Science)-Vol. 284, Iss: 5415, pp 790-793

TL;DR: Vector magnetic field observations of the martian crust were acquired by the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) magnetic field experiment/electron reflectometer (MAG/ER) during the aerobraking and science phasing orbits, at altitudes between approximately 100 and 200 kilometers.

AbstractVector magnetic field observations of the martian crust were acquired by the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) magnetic field experiment/electron reflectometer (MAG/ER) during the aerobraking and science phasing orbits, at altitudes between ∼100 and 200 kilometers. Magnetic field sources of multiple scales, strength, and geometry were observed. There is a correlation between the location of the sources and the ancient cratered terrain of the martian highlands. The absence of crustal magnetism near large impact basins such as Hellas and Argyre implies cessation of internal dynamo action during the early Naochian epoch (∼4 billion years ago). Sources with equivalent magnetic moments as large as 1.3 × 1017 ampere-meter2in the Terra Sirenum region contribute to the development of an asymmetrical, time-variable obstacle to solar wind flow around Mars.

Topics: Mars Exploration Program (58%), Martian (57%), Solar wind (51%), Aerobraking (50%)

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Citations
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Journal ArticleDOI
Abstract: The Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA), an instrument on the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft, has measured the topography, surface roughness, and 1.064-μm reflectivity of Mars and the heights of volatile and dust clouds. This paper discusses the function of the MOLA instrument and the acquisition, processing, and correction of observations to produce global data sets. The altimeter measurements have been converted to both gridded and spherical harmonic models for the topography and shape of Mars that have vertical and radial accuracies of ~1 m with respect to the planet's center of mass. The current global topographic grid has a resolution of 1/64° in latitude × 1/32° in longitude (1 × 2 km^2 at the equator). Reconstruction of the locations of incident laser pulses on the Martian surface appears to be at the 100-m spatial accuracy level and results in 2 orders of magnitude improvement in the global geodetic grid of Mars. Global maps of optical pulse width indicative of 100-m-scale surface roughness and 1.064-μm reflectivity with an accuracy of 5% have also been obtained.

1,325 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
01 Aug 2004-Icarus
Abstract: As the obliquity of Mars is strongly chaotic, it is not possible to give a solution for its evolution over more than a few million years. Using the most recent data for the rotational state of Mars, and a new numerical integration of the Solar System, we provide here a precise solution for the evolution of Mars' spin over 10 to 20 Myr. Over 250 Myr, we present a statistical study of its possible evolution, when considering the uncertainties in the present rotational state. Over much longer time span, reaching 5 Gyr, chaotic diffusion prevails, and we have performed an extensive statistical analysis of the orbital and rotational evolution of Mars, relying on Laskar's secular solution of the Solar System, based on more than 600 orbital and 200,000 obliquity solutions over 5 Gyr. The density functions of the eccentricity and obliquity are specified with simple analytical formulas. We found an averaged eccentricity of Mars over 5 Gyr of 0.0690 with standard deviation 0.0299, while the averaged value of the obliquity is 37.62° with a standard deviation of 13.82°, and a maximal value of 82.035°. We find that the probability for Mars' obliquity to have reached more than 60° in the past 1 Gyr is 63.0%, and 89.3% in 3 Gyr. Over 4 Gyr, the position of Mars' axis is given by a uniform distribution on a spherical cap limited by the obliquity 58.62°, with the addition of a random noise allowing a slow diffusion beyond this limit. We can also define a standard model of Mars' insolation parameters over 4 Gyr with the most probable values 0.068 for the eccentricity and 41.80° for the obliquity.

797 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
03 Nov 2011-Nature
TL;DR: Clay minerals, recently discovered to be widespread in Mars’s Noachian terrains, indicate long-duration interaction between water and rock over 3.7 billion years ago, and available data indicate substantial Martian clay formation by hydrothermal groundwater circulation and a Noachia rock record dominated by evidence of subsurface waters.
Abstract: Clay minerals, recently discovered to be widespread in Mars’s Noachian terrains, indicate long-duration interaction between water and rock over 3.7 billion years ago. Analysis of how they formed should indicate what environmental conditions prevailed on early Mars. If clays formed near the surface by weathering, as is common on Earth, their presence would indicate past surface conditions warmer and wetter than at present. However, available data instead indicate substantial Martian clay formation by hydrothermal groundwater circulation and a Noachian rock record dominated by evidence of subsurface waters. Cold, arid conditions with only transient surface water may have characterized Mars’s surface for over 4 billion years, since the early-Noachian period, and the longest-duration aqueous, potentially habitable environments may have been in the subsurface.

611 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
01 Nov 2001-Icarus
Abstract: In this paper we consider the hydraulic and thermal conditions that gave rise to the elevated source regions of the Late Hesperian outflow channels and explore their implications for the evolution of the Martian hydrosphere. We find that if the outflow channel floodwaters were derived from a subpermafrost aquifer, then it implies that, throughout the planet's first billion years of evolution, as much as one third of its surface was covered by standing bodies of water and ice. Following the development of the global dichotomy, the bulk of this water would have existed as an ice-covered ocean in the northern plains. We demonstrate that the progressive crustal assimilation of this early surface reservoir of H2O (punctuated by possible episodes of less extensive flooding) was a natural consequence of the planet's subsequent climatic and geothermal evolution-potentially cycling the equivalent of a km-deep global ocean of water through the atmosphere and subsurface every approx. 10(exp 9) years. In response to the long-term decline in planetary heat flow, the progressive coldtrapping of H2O into the growing cryosphere is expected to have significantly depleted the original inventory of groundwater-a development that could well explain the apparent decline in outflow channel activity observed during the Amazonian. Although primarily a theoretical analysis, our findings appear remarkably consistent with the geomorphic and topographic evidence that Mars once possessed a primordial ocean and that a substantial relic of that body continues to survive as massive ice deposits within the northern plains. Confirmation of the presence of such deposits, combined with the potential detection of a global-scale groundwater system, would provide persuasive support for the validity of this analysis.

563 citations


Cites background from "Global distribution of crustal magn..."

  • ...This conclusion is reinforced by the recent discovery of residual magnetic lineations within the southern highland crust (Acuña et al. 1999, Connerny et al. 1999), the potential signature of an early period of incipient plate tectonics (e.g., Sleep 1994)....

    [...]


Journal ArticleDOI
10 Mar 2000-Science
TL;DR: The strength of the lithosphere beneath the ancient southern highlands suggests that the northern hemisphere was a locus of high heat flow early in martian history and the thickness of the elastic lithosphere increases with time of loading in the northern plains and Tharsis.
Abstract: Topography and gravity measured by the Mars Global Surveyor have enabled determination of the global crust and upper mantle structure of Mars. The planet displays two distinct crustal zones that do not correlate globally with the geologic dichotomy: a region of crust that thins progressively from south to north and encompasses much of the southern highlands and Tharsis province and a region of approximately uniform crustal thickness that includes the northern lowlands and Arabia Terra. The strength of the lithosphere beneath the ancient southern highlands suggests that the northern hemisphere was a locus of high heat flow early in martian history. The thickness of the elastic lithosphere increases with time of loading in the northern plains and Tharsis. The northern lowlands contain structures interpreted as large buried channels that are consistent with northward transport of water and sediment to the lowlands before the end of northern hemisphere resurfacing.

532 citations


References
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Journal ArticleDOI
30 Apr 1999-Science
TL;DR: The Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft obtained vector magnetic field measurements above the surface of Mars and groups of quasi-parallel linear features of alternating magnetic polarity were found, reminiscent of similar magnetic features associated with sea floor spreading and crustal genesis on Earth but with a much larger spatial scale.
Abstract: The Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft, in a highly elliptical polar orbit, obtained vector magnetic field measurements above the surface of Mars (altitudes >100 kilometers). Crustal magnetization, mainly confined to the most ancient, heavily cratered martian highlands, is frequently organized in east-west-trending linear features, the longest extending over 2000 kilometers. Crustal remanent magnetization exceeds that of terrestrial crust by more than an order of magnitude. Groups of quasi-parallel linear features of alternating magnetic polarity were found. They are reminiscent of similar magnetic features associated with sea floor spreading and crustal genesis on Earth but with a much larger spatial scale. They may be a relic of an era of plate tectonics on Mars.

460 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
10 May 1984-Nature
Abstract: Of the two approximately hemispherical, fundamentally different geological provinces into which Mars is divided, the more southerly province is heavily cratered, while the northern is lightly cratered and contains younger geological units. Lowlands occupy about one-third of Mars, and these are separated from the highlands by a distinct scarp or by a sloping transitional zone which is characterized by a variety of landforms that are unknown on other planets. It is presently proposed that the largest expanse of lowlands is substantially due to the formation of a large impact basin early in the planet's history, which has markedly influenced the character of the Martian surface.

247 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
Abstract: The hypothesis that the crustal dichotomy on Mars is due to a single giant (mega) impact early in Martian history is tested by determining the number of 'missing' basins, the difference between the observed number of large impact basins on Mars and the number expected from a 1/D-squared distribution. If the Borealis Basin was the largest member of a 1/D-squared impact population, a large number of 'missing' basins is expected which is too large to be hidden by the younger surface units. If Chryse is the largest member of a 1/D-squared impact population, the more modest number of 'missing' basins could be confined to areas of Mars that have been resurfaced or reworked by subsequent geologic processes.

143 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
Abstract: The magnetic fields experiment designed for the Mars Observer mission will provide definitive measurements of the Martian magnetic field from the transition and mapping orbits planned for the Mars Observer. The paper describes the instruments (which include a classical magnetometer and an electron reflection magnetometer) and techniques designed to investigate the nature of the Martian magnetic field and the Mars-solar wind interaction, the mapping of crustal magnetic fields, and studies of the Martian ionosphere, which are activities included in the Mars Observer mission objectives. Attention is also given to the flight software incorporated in the on-board data processor, and the procedures of data processing and analysis.

119 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
Abstract: The marked dichotomy in topography, surface age, and crustal thickness between the northern lowland (NL) and southern upland of Mars has been explained as due to an initially inhomogeneous crust, a single megaimpact event, several overlapping large basin impacts, and first-order convective overtum of the Martian mantle. All of these hypotheses propose that the dichotomy was formed before the end of the primordial heavy bombardment. Geological data indicate episodes of fracturing and faulting in the late Noachian and the early Hesperian, within the NL and along the lowland/highland boundary. Igneous activity also peaked in the late Noachian and early Hesperian. These data suggest a tectonic event near the Noachian/Hesperian boundary characterized by enhanced heat loss and extensive fracturing, including formation of the faults that define much of the highland/lowland boundary. It is argued that the major result of this tectonic event was formation of the dichotomy by thinning of the crust above a large convection cell or plume.

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