Title

Assessing the geologic evolution of Greater Thaumasia, Mars

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

9-1-2016

Abstract

©2016. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved. The Greater Thaumasia region consists of three chemical provinces that include Syria, Solis, and Thaumasia Planae, the Corprates Rise, part of the Thaumasia Highlands, and the transition zone northwest of the Argyre basin. Chemical signatures obtained from the Mars Odyssey Gamma Ray Spectrometer suggest low abundances of K and Th to the west, with low H abundances and high Si abundances to the east, relative to the bulk Martian crust at midlatitudes. These observations are confirmed and quantified with a modified box and whisker analysis that simultaneously captures the degree of deviation and significance of the regionally anomalous chemistry. Motivated by regionally unique chemistry, as well as its diverse geological history, we characterize Greater Thaumasia in terms of chemistry, mineralogy, and mapped geology to determine how such complementary data record the evolution of this region. Our observations are inconsistent with a proposed salt-lubricated landslide origin, particularly given the lack of chemical or mineralogical signatures to support near-surface salt deposits that should arise over geological timescales. Our observations instead support magmatic processes, such as mantle evolution over geological time, which may impart the Si-enriched signature of the eastern portion of Greater Thaumasia as well as the K and Th depletion of the southeastern flank of Syria Planum. While the observed trend of decreasing K and Th from Noachian to Hesperian lavas is inconsistent with previous models of Martian mantle evolution, we see an increase in Ca content at the Noachian-Hesperian boundary, consistent with predictions from thermodynamic modeling.

Publication Source (Journal or Book title)

Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets

First Page

1753

Last Page

1769

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