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Influence of early plate tectonics on the thermal evolution and magnetic field of Mars

Nimmo, F. and Stevenson, D. J. (2000) Influence of early plate tectonics on the thermal evolution and magnetic field of Mars. Journal of Geophysical Research E, 105 (E5). pp. 11969-11979. ISSN 0148-0227. doi:10.1029/1999JE001216.

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Recent magnetic studies of Mars suggest that (1) it possessed a periodically reversing magnetic field for the first ∼500 Myr of its existence and (2) plate tectonics may have been operating during this time. On Earth the geodynamo is thought to occur because of convection in the outer core. This paper estimates the amount of heat the Martian core can conduct in the absence of convection. It uses parameterized, variable-viscosity thermal evolution models to show that the core heat flux increases if the planet's surface heat flux is increased above the value required to eliminate instantaneous radiogenic heat production. Conversely, a sudden reduction in surface heat flux causes the mantle to heat up and the core heat flux to become negative. Thus, if plate tectonics, or some other process causing high surface heat flux, was occurring on early Mars, it is likely to have caused convection in the core and hence generated a magnetic field. Conversely, a reduction in surface heat flux would probably have caused the core to stop convecting and shut off the magnetic field. There is thus an important link between surface processes and core magnetism, which may also be relevant to planets such as Earth and Venus.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Nimmo, F.0000-0003-3573-5915
Stevenson, D. J.0000-0001-9432-7159
Additional Information:© 2000 American Geophysical Union. Received November 12, 1999; revised March 3, 2000; accepted March 10, 2000. We thank Slava Solomatov and an anonymous reviewer, whose comments greatly improved this manuscript. This research was funded by Magdalene College, Cambridge, and the California Institute of Technology.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Magdalene College CambridgeUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:Planetology: Solar System Objects: Mars; Planetology: Solid Surface Planets: Heat flow; Planetology: Solid Surface Planets: Magnetic fields and magnetism; Planetology: Solid Surface Planets: Meteorology
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Other Numbering System NameOther Numbering System ID
AGU Paper Number1999JE001216
Issue or Number:E5
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20140415-144224473
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Official Citation:Nimmo, F., and D. J. Stevenson (2000), Influence of early plate tectonics on the thermal evolution and magnetic field of Mars, J. Geophys. Res., 105(E5), 11969–11979, doi:10.1029/1999JE001216
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:44964
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:18 Apr 2014 17:17
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 16:58

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