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An overview of sedimentary volcanism on Mars

Broz, P. and Oehler, Dorothy and Mazzini, A. and Hauber, Ernst and Komatsu, G. and Etiope, G. and Cuřín, Vojtěch (2023) An overview of sedimentary volcanism on Mars. Earth Surface Dynamics (ESurf), 11, pp. 633-661. Copernicus Publications. doi: 10.5194/esurf-11-633-2023. ISSN 2196-6311.

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Official URL: https://esurf.copernicus.org/articles/11/633/2023/esurf-11-633-2023.pdf


Extensive fields of sub-kilometre- to kilometre-scale mounds, cones, domes, shields, and flow-like edifices cover large parts of the martian lowlands. These features have been compared to structures on Earth produced by sedimentary volcanism – a process that involves subsurface sediment/fluid mobilisation and commonly releases methane to the atmosphere. It was proposed that such processes might help to explain the presence of methane in the martian atmosphere and may also have produced habitable, subsurface settings of potential astrobiological relevance. However, it remains unclear if sedimentary volcanism on Earth and Mars share genetic similarities and hence if methane or other gases were released on Mars during this process. The aim of this review is to summarise the current knowledge about mud-volcano-like structures on Mars, address the critical aspects of this process, identify key open questions, and point to areas where further research is needed to understand this phenomenon and its importance for the Red Planet’s geological evolution. We show here that after several decades of exploration, the amount of evidence supporting martian sedimentary volcanism has increased significantly, but as the critical ground truth is still lacking, alternative explanations cannot be ruled out. We also highlight that the lower gravity and temperatures on Mars compared to Earth control the dynamics of clastic eruptions and surface emplacement mechanisms and the resulting morphologies of erupted material. This implies that shapes and triggering mechanisms of mud-volcano-like structures may be different from those observed on Earth. Therefore, comparative studies should be done with caution. To provide a better understanding of the significance of these abundant features on Mars, we argue for follow-up studies targeting putative sedimentary volcanic features identified on the planet’s surface and, if possible, for in situ investigations by landed missions such as that by the Zhurong rover.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/196134/
Document Type:Article
Title:An overview of sedimentary volcanism on Mars
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthor's ORCID iDORCID Put Code
Broz, P.Institute of Geophysics, The Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic (ASCR),Prague 4, Czech RepublicUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Oehler, DorothyPlanetary Science Institute, Tucson, AZ, USAUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Mazzini, A.Department of Geosciences, University of Oslo, 0371, Oslo, NorwayUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Hauber, ErnstUNSPECIFIEDhttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-1375-304XUNSPECIFIED
Komatsu, G.IRSPS, Univ. D'Annunzio, Pescara, ItalyUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Etiope, G.Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, Sezione Roma 2UNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Cuřín, VojtěchCzech University of Life Sciences PragueUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Date:20 July 2023
Journal or Publication Title:Earth Surface Dynamics (ESurf)
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:Yes
Gold Open Access:Yes
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
Page Range:pp. 633-661
Publisher:Copernicus Publications
Keywords:Mars, mud, sediments, volcanism, water, subsurface, HRSC
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Space
HGF - Program Themes:Robotics
DLR - Research area:Raumfahrt
DLR - Program:R RO - Robotics
DLR - Research theme (Project):R - Planetary Exploration
Location: Berlin-Adlershof
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Planetary Research > Planetary Geology
Deposited By: Hauber, Ernst
Deposited On:24 Jul 2023 09:41
Last Modified:29 Jan 2024 12:16

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