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The potential for crustal resources on MarsMartian resources pose not only an interesting scientific challenge but also have immense astronautical significance because of their ability to enhance mission efficiency, lower launch and program costs, and stimulate the development of large Mars surface facilities. Although much terrestrial mineralization is associated with plate tectonics and Mars apparently possesses a thick, stationary lithosphere, the presence of crustal swells, rifting, volcanism, and abundant volatiles indicates that a number of sedimentary, hydrothermal, dry-magma mineral concentration processes may have operated on Mars. For example, in Colorado Plateau-style (roll-front) deposits, uranium precipitation is localized by redox variations in groundwater. Also, evaporites (either in salt pans or even interstitially in pore spaces) might concentrate Cl, Li, and K. Many Martian impact craters have been modified by volcanism and probably have been affected by rising magma bodies interacting with ground ice or water. Such conditions might produce hydrothermal circulations and element concentrations. If the high sulfur content found by the Viking landers typifies Martian abundances, sulfide ore bodies may have been formed locally. Mineral-rich Africa seems to share many volcanic and tectonic characteristics with portions of Mars and may suggest Mars' potential mineral wealth. For example, the rifts of Valles Marineris are similar to the rifts in east Africa, and may both result from a large mantle plume rising from the interior and disrupting the surface. The gigantic Bushveld complex of South Africa, an ancient layered igneous intrusion that contains ores of chromium and Pt-group metals, illustrates the sort of dry-magma processes that also could have formed local element concentrations on Mars, especially early in the planet's history when heat flow was higher.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Legacy CDMS
Document Type
Conference Paper
Cordell, Bruce M.
(General Dynamics/Astronautics San Diego, CA., United States)
Gillett, Stephen L.
(Nevada Univ. Reno., United States)
Date Acquired
September 6, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1991
Publication Information
Publication: Arizona Univ., Resources of Near-Earth Space: Abstracts
Subject Category
Lunar And Planetary Exploration
Accession Number
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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