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The four-stage evolution of Martian mantle inferred from numerical simulation of the magmatism-mantle upwelling feedback
  • Masaki Ogawa
Masaki Ogawa
University of Tokyo at Komaba

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To understand the overall features of the history of magmatic activities and surface environment on Mars, I used a numerical model of magmatism in the convecting mantle that is nominally anhydrous and internally heated. Magmatism occurs as an upward permeable flow of basaltic magma generated by decompression melting through matrix. The modeled mantle evolves in four stages. In Stage I, high initial temperature in the uppermost mantle causes an extensive magmatism intensified by two types of positive feedback that operate between magmatism and mantle upwelling flow, the MMUb and MMUc feedback: the buoyancy and volume change of matrix, respectively, caused by migrating magma that a mantle upwelling flow generates intensify the flow itself to generate more magma. The stratification suppresses mantle convection and magmatism for the next tens to hundreds of millions of years, allowing heat to build up in the mantle by internal heating (Stage II). Eventually, magma is generated at depth, and the MMUb feedback operates to cause an episodic plume magmatism that releases water from the interior of Mars (Stage III). The plume magmatism also stirs the mantle to make it more homogeneous and extracts heat producing elements from the deep mantle to let the magmatism itself wane and cease. In the final stage IV, mantle convection becomes more like a thermal convection. The episodic magmatism and water outgassing in Stage III account for the magmatism and clement surface environment observed for early Mars.
Dec 2021Published in Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets volume 126 issue 12. 10.1029/2021JE006997