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Evolution of ore deposits on terrestrial planetsOre deposits on terrestrial planets materialized after core formation, mantle evolution, crustal development, interactions of surface rocks with the hydrosphere and atmosphere, and, where life exists on a planet, the involvement of biological activity. Core formation removed most of the siderophilic and chalcophilic elements, leaving mantles depleted in many of the strategic and noble metals relative to their chondritic abundances. Basaltic magma derived from partial melting of the mantle transported to the surface several metals contained in immiscible silicate and sulfide melts. Magmatic ore deposits were formed during cooling, fractional crystallization and density stratification from the basaltic melts. Such ore deposits found in earth's Archean rocks were probably generated during early histories of all terrestrial planets and may be the only types of igneous ores on Mars. Where plate tectonic activity was prevalent on a terrestrial planet, temporal evolution of ore deposits took place. Repetitive episodes of subduction modified the chemical compositions of the crust and upper mantles, leading to porphyry copper and molybdenum ores in calc-alkaline igneous rocks and granite-hosted tin and tungsten deposits. Such plate tectonic-induced mineralization in relatively young igneous rocks on earth may also have produced hydrothermal ore deposits on Venus in addition to the massive sulfide and cumulate chromite ores associated with Venusian mafic igneous rock. Sedimentary ore deposits resulting from mechanical and chemical weathering in reducing atmospheres in Archean earth included placer deposits (e.g., uraninite, gold, pyrite ores). Chromite, ilmenite, and other dense unreactive minerals could also be present on channel floors and in valley networks on Mars, while banded iron formations might underlie the Martian northern plains regions. As oxygen evolved in earth's atmosphere, so too did oxide ores. By analogy, gossans above sulfide ores probably occur on Mars, but not submarine ferromanganese nodules and crusts which have precipitated in oxygenated seawater on earth.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Burns, R. G. (Massachusetts Inst. of Tech. Cambridge, MA, 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
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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IDRelationTitle19910016705Analytic PrimaryResources of Near-Earth Space: Abstracts