Mars’ mantle may be more complicated than previously thought. In a new study published [February 24] in the Nature-affiliated journal Scientific Reports, researchers at Louisiana State University document geochemical changes over time in the lava flows of Elysium, a major martian volcanic province.
LSU Geology and Geophysics graduate researcher David Susko led the study with colleagues at LSU including his advisor Suniti Karunatillake, the University of Rahuna in Sri Lanka, the SETI Institute, Georgia Institute of Technology, NASA Ames, and the Institut de Recherche en Astrophysique et Planétologie in France.
They found that the unusual chemistry of lava flows around Elysium is consistent with primary magmatic processes, such as a heterogeneous mantle beneath Mars’ surface or the weight of the overlying volcanic mountain causing different layers of the mantle to melt at different temperatures as they rise to the surface over time. [More at links]