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Origin of Magnetic Lineations on MarsThe magnetic lineations discovered by MGS (Mars Global Surveyor) have been considered to be evidence of early plate tectonics on Mars. However, the lineations approximately follow lines of latitude, i.e., small circles. This presents significant geometrical problems for plate-like spreading, particularly at high latitudes. However, the sublatitudinal orientation of the lineations is consistent with meridianal extension and perhaps limited crustal spreading due to a stress event centered near the geographic pole. We hypothesize that this event was the early formation of the crustal dichotomy through mantle-convective processes. This could have taken the form of a southern megaplume that formed the thick highlands crust or as subduction or downwelling in the north. Both would result in tensional stresses in the south that would form extensional fractures perpendicular to the CM-CF (center-of-mass/center-of-gravity) offset. The observed magnitude and distribution of magnetization indicates that crustal intrusion associated with this major mantle-convective event resulted in approximately 1000 km of extension in the Southern highlands. Subsequent spin-axis reorientation due to loss of crust in the north or gain of crust in the south brought the CM-CF offset into its present N-S alignment. A portion of the ancient valley networks observed in the southern highlands are spatially associated with crustal magnetism and are quantitatively shown to be consistent with hydrothermal discharge over crustal intrusions.
Document ID
Document Type
Grimm, Robert E. (Colorado Univ. Boulder, CO United States)
Date Acquired
September 7, 2013
Publication Date
September 23, 2002
Subject Category
Lunar and Planetary Science and Exploration
Funding Number(s)
PROJECT: CU Proj. 1532973
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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