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Published March 1978 | public
Journal Article

Theoretical models for Mars and their seismic properties


Theoretical seismic properties of the planet Mars are investigated on the basis of the various models which have been proposed for the internal composition of the planet. The latest interpretation of gravity field data (Reasenberg, 1977), assuming a lower value of the moment of inertia, would require a less dense mantle and a larger core than previous models. If Mars is chondritic in composition, the most reasonable models are an incompletely differentiated H-chondrite or a mixture of H-chondrites and carbonaceous chondrites. Seismic profiles, travel times, and free oscillation periods are computed for various models, with the aim of establishing which seismic data is crucial for deciding among the alternatives. A detailed discussion is given of the seismic properties which could—in principle—help answer the following two questions: Is Mars' core liquid or solid? Does Mars have a partially molten asthenosphere in its upper mantle?

Additional Information

© 1978 by Academic Press, Inc. Received April 27, 1977; revised July 25, 1977. Discussion over an early draft of this paper with Bob Geller, Seth Stein, and Bernard Minster is gratefully acknowledged. I thank Steve Smith for comments on some geochemical problems. Dave Johnston, Nail Toksöz, and Ted Ringwood kindly made preprints available. Some of the computer programs used in this work were initially written by Bruce Julian and by Hiroo Kanamori. This research was supported by NASA, Contract NGL-05-002-069. Contribution Number 2902, Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences, California Institute of Technology.

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