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On the spatial variability of the Martian elastic lithosphere thickness: Evidence for mantle plumes?

Grott, M. and Breuer, D. (2010) On the spatial variability of the Martian elastic lithosphere thickness: Evidence for mantle plumes? Journal of Geophysical Research, 115, pp. 1-16. Wiley. doi: 10.1029/2009JE003456.

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Official URL: http://www.agu.org/journals/je/je1003/2009JE003456/


The present day elastic lithosphere thickness at the Martian north pole has recently been constrained to D<sub>e</sub> > 300 km and this is a factor of 3–4 larger than elastic thickness estimates for other Amazonian surface features like the Tharsis volcanoes. Here we present a model for the Martian elastic lithosphere thickness which takes the locally varying crustal thickness, the local concentration of heat-producing elements, as well as variations of strain rate into account. The model predicts D<sub>e</sub> = 196 km at the north pole today, whereas elastic thicknesses at the Tharsis volcanoes are best compatible with middle to late Amazonian loading ages. Therefore, although a large degree of spatial heterogeneity can be explained by the presented model, large elastic thicknesses in excess of 300 km cannot be reproduced. In order to fit all elastic thickness estimates derived from observations, mantle heat flux at the north pole needs to be reduced by 35%. However, this can only be reconciled with a bulk chondritic concentration of heat-producing elements in the Martian interior if the excess heat is deposited elsewhere. Therefore, this argues for the presence of recently active mantle plumes, possibly underneath Tharsis. The size and strength of such a plume can be constrained by the elastic thickness at the Tharsis Montes and maximum average heat flux between 8 and 24 mW m<sup>-2</sup>, corresponding to a central peak heat flux of 40 to 120 mW m<sup>-2</sup>, is consistent with the observations. Such a plume would leave a clear signature in the surface heat flux and should be readily detectable by in situ heat flux measurements.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/63813/
Document Type:Article
Title:On the spatial variability of the Martian elastic lithosphere thickness: Evidence for mantle plumes?
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthor's ORCID iDORCID Put Code
Journal or Publication Title:Journal of Geophysical Research
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:No
Gold Open Access:No
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
Page Range:pp. 1-16
Keywords:Mars, geophysics, plumes
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport (old)
HGF - Program:Space (old)
HGF - Program Themes:W EW - Erforschung des Weltraums
DLR - Research area:Space
DLR - Program:W EW - Erforschung des Weltraums
DLR - Research theme (Project):W - Vorhaben Vergleichende Planetologie (old)
Location: Berlin-Adlershof
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Planetary Research > Planetary Physics
Institute of Planetary Research
Deposited By: Noack, Lena
Deposited On:12 Apr 2010 14:13
Last Modified:08 Mar 2018 18:43

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