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Expectations for the Martian core magnetic fieldIn the traditional view of planetary magnetism, a planet either has a core dynamo (Earth, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, maybe Mercury) or does not (Mars, Venus, Moon...) I argue that this view is simplistic in two respects. First, mantle convection in terrestrial planets is invariably ata high enough Rayleigh number that it is time variable; this leads to the intermittent arrival of mantle 'cold fingers' at the core-mantle boundary promoting at least local core convection and dynamo action even when the planetary core is stably stratified on average. Thus, I predict an intermittent dynamo regime in addition to the simple dynamo-on (Earth) and dynamo-off regimes. Second, the mantle convection-driven horizontal temperature gradients just below the core-mantle boundary can lead to unstable flows that will convert thermoelectric or electrochemical toroidal fields into externally detectable poloidal fields, even when a dynamo is not possible. It is likely that Mars possesses an interesting core magnetic field of the latter kind, complex but with a dipole that might be approximately aligned with the rotation axis and a surface field of a few to tens of gammas.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Stevenson, D. J.
(California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Date Acquired
September 6, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1993
Publication Information
Publication: Lunar and Planetary Inst., Twenty-Fourth Lunar and Planetary Science Conference. Part 3: N-Z
Subject Category
Lunar And Planetary Exploration
Accession Number
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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