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New evidence for a magmatic influence on the origin of Valles Marineris, Mars

Dohm, James M. and Williams, Jean-Pierre and Anderson, Robert C. and Ruiz, Javier and McGuire, Patrick C. and Komatsu, Goro and Davila, Alfonso F. and Ferris, Justin C. and Schulze-Makuch, Dirk and Baker, Victor R. and Boynton, William V. and Fairen, Alberto G. and Hare, Trent M. and Miyamoto, Hirdy and Tanaka, Kenneth L. and Wheelock, Shawn J. (2009) New evidence for a magmatic influence on the origin of Valles Marineris, Mars. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 185 (1-2). pp. 12-27. ISSN 0377-0273.

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In this paper, we show that the complex geological evolution of Valles Marineris, Mars, has been highly influenced by the manifestation of magmatism (e.g., possible plume activity). This is based on a diversity of evidence, reported here, for the central part, Melas Chasma, and nearby regions, including uplift, loss of huge volumes of material, flexure, volcanism, and possible hydrothermal and endogenic-induced outflow channel activity. Observations include: (1) the identification of a new > 50 km-diameter caldera/vent-like feature on the southwest flank of Melas, which is spatially associated with a previously identified center of tectonic activity using Viking data; (2) a prominent topographic rise at the central part of Valles Marineris, which includes Melas Chasma, interpreted to mark an uplift, consistent with faults that are radial and concentric about it; (3) HiRISE-identified landforms along the floor of the southeast part of Melas Chasma that are interpreted to reveal a volcanic field; (4) CRISM identification of sulfate-rich outcrops, which could be indicative of hydrothermal deposits; (5) GRS K/Th signature interpreted as water–magma interactions and/or variations in rock composition; and (6) geophysical evidence that may indicate partial compensation of the canyon and/or higher density intrusives beneath it. Long-term magma, tectonic, and water interactions (Late Noachian into the Amazonian), albeit intermittent, point to an elevated life potential, and thus Valles Marineris is considered a prime target for future life detection missions.

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Williams, Jean-Pierre0000-0001-5058-695X
Additional Information:Copyright © 2008 Elsevier. Received 22 May 2008; accepted 21 November 2008. Available online 3 December 2008. The authors are indebted to two technical reviewers, Alvaro Marquez and Patrick McGovern, as well as two U.S. Geological Survey internal reviewers, James Skinner and an anonymous reviewer, for their thoughtful reviews, which have resulted in a significantly improved manuscript. James Dohm was supported by the NASA Mars Data Analysis Program, Javier Ruiz by a contract I3P with the CSIC, co-financed from the European Social Fund, Jean-Pierre Williams by the California Institute of Technology through the O. K. Earl Postdoctoral Fellowship and the National Science Foundations Astronomy and Astrophysics Research Grants program (AST-0709151), Patrick McGuire by a Robert M. Walker senior research fellowship from the McDonnell Center for the Space Sciences, and by NASA funds through the Applied Physics Laboratory, under subcontract from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL Contract #1277793), and both Alberto G. Fairén and Alfonso F. Davila were supported by the Oak Ridge Associated Universities and the NASA Post-Doctoral Program. We would also express our gratitude to the Gamma Ray Spectrometer Team whose diligent efforts have yielded tremendous fruit.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
European Social FundUNSPECIFIED
McDonnell Center for the Space SciencesUNSPECIFIED
Oak Ridge Associated UniversitiesUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:Mars; Valles Marineris; Tharsis; plume; superplume; magma; water; canyon system; life
Issue or Number:1-2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20090908-083702974
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Official Citation:James M. Dohm, Jean-Pierre Williams, Robert C. Anderson, Javier Ruiz, Patrick C. McGuire, Goro Komatsu, Alfonso F. Davila, Justin C. Ferris, Dirk Schulze-Makuch, Victor R. Baker, William V. Boynton, Alberto G. Fairen, Trent M. Hare, Hirdy Miyamoto, Kennth L. Tanaka, Shawn J. Wheelock, New evidence for a magmatic influence on the origin of Valles Marineris, Mars, Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, Volume 185, Issues 1-2, Tectonic and volcanic history of the Tharsis province, Mars, 10 August 2009, Pages 12-27, ISSN 0377-0273, DOI: 10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2008.11.029. (
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:15646
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:30 Sep 2009 17:02
Last Modified:22 Jun 2020 17:22

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