Constraints on the structure of the martian interior determined from the chemical and isotopic systematics of SNC meteorites
AuthorJones, J. H.
MetadataShow full item record
CitationJones, J. H. (2003). Constraints on the structure of the martian interior determined from the chemical and isotopic systematics of SNC meteorites. Meteoritics & Planetary Science, 38(12), 1807-1814.
PublisherThe Meteoritical Society
JournalMeteoritics & Planetary Science
AbstractThe crystallization ages of martian (SNC) meteorites give evidence that martian volcanism has continued until recent times--perhaps until the present. These meteorites also indicate that the mantle source regions of this volcanism are modestly to extremely depleted by terrestrial standards. These 2 observations produce a conundrum. How is it that such depleted source regions have produced basaltic magma for such a long time? This contribution attempts to quantify the radiogenic heat production in 2 distinct martian mantle source regions: those of the shergottites and nakhlites. Compared to the depleted upper mantle of the Earth (MORB), the nakhlite source region is depleted by about a factor of 2, and the shergottite source region is depleted by a factor of 6. According to current geophysical models, the nakhlite source contains the minimum amount of radioactive heat production to sustain whole-mantle convection and basalt generation over geologic time. A corollary of this conclusion is that the shergottite source contains much too little radioactivity to produce recent (<200 Ma) basalts. A model martian interior with a deep nakhlite mantle that is insulated by a shallow shergottite mantle may allow basalt production from both source regions if the divide between the nakhlite-shergottite mantles acts as a thermal boundary layer. Similarities between lunar and martian isotopic reservoirs indicate that the Moon and Mars may have experienced similar styles of differentiation.