skip to main content
DOE PAGES title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Title: Taking the pulse of Mars via dating of a plume-fed volcano

Abstract

Mars hosts the solar system’s largest volcanoes. Although their size and impact crater density indicate continued activity over billions of years, their formation rates are poorly understood. Here we quantify the growth rate of a Martian volcano by 40Ar/ 39Ar and cosmogenic exposure dating of six nakhlites, meteorites that were ejected from Mars by a single impact event at 10.7 ± 0.8 Ma (2σ). We find that the nakhlites sample a layered volcanic sequence with at least four discrete eruptive events spanning 93 ± 12 Ma (1416 ± 7 Ma to 1322 ± 10 Ma (2σ)). A non-radiogenic trapped 40Ar/ 36Ar value of 1511 ± 74 (2σ) provides a precise and robust constraint for the mid-Amazonian Martian atmosphere. Our data show that the nakhlite-source volcano grew at a rate of ca. 0.4–0.7 m Ma -1—three orders of magnitude slower than comparable volcanoes on Earth, and necessitating that Mars was far more volcanically active earlier in its history.

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1];  [2];  [3]; ORCiD logo [4];  [5];  [6]
  1. Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre (SUERC), East Kilbride, Scotland (United Kingdom). Isotope Geoscience Unit; Univ. of Glasgow, Scotland (United Kingdom). School of Geographical and Earth Sciences
  2. Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre (SUERC), East Kilbride, Scotland (United Kingdom). Isotope Geoscience Unit; Univ. of St. Andrews, Scotland (United Kingdom). Dept. of Earth & Environmental Science
  3. Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States). Nuclear & Chemical Sciences Division
  4. Univ. of Glasgow, Scotland (United Kingdom). School of Geographical and Earth Sciences
  5. Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre (SUERC), East Kilbride, Scotland (United Kingdom). Isotope Geoscience Unit
  6. The Natural History Museum, London (United Kingdom). Dept. of Earth Sciences
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States); Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre (SUERC), East Kilbride, Scotland (United Kingdom); Univ. of Glasgow, Scotland (United Kingdom)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA); National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA); Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) (United Kingdom)
OSTI Identifier:
1497295
Report Number(s):
LLNL-JRNL-739514
Journal ID: ISSN 2041-1723; 892871
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC52-07NA27344; NNH14AX56I; ST/H002472/1; ST/H002960/1; ST/K000918/1
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Nature Communications
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 8; Journal ID: ISSN 2041-1723
Publisher:
Nature Publishing Group
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
58 GEOSCIENCES; inner planets; meteoritics; volcanology

Citation Formats

Cohen, Benjamin E., Mark, Darren F., Cassata, William S., Lee, Martin R., Tomkinson, Tim, and Smith, Caroline L. Taking the pulse of Mars via dating of a plume-fed volcano. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.1038/s41467-017-00513-8.
Cohen, Benjamin E., Mark, Darren F., Cassata, William S., Lee, Martin R., Tomkinson, Tim, & Smith, Caroline L. Taking the pulse of Mars via dating of a plume-fed volcano. United States. doi:10.1038/s41467-017-00513-8.
Cohen, Benjamin E., Mark, Darren F., Cassata, William S., Lee, Martin R., Tomkinson, Tim, and Smith, Caroline L. Tue . "Taking the pulse of Mars via dating of a plume-fed volcano". United States. doi:10.1038/s41467-017-00513-8. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1497295.
@article{osti_1497295,
title = {Taking the pulse of Mars via dating of a plume-fed volcano},
author = {Cohen, Benjamin E. and Mark, Darren F. and Cassata, William S. and Lee, Martin R. and Tomkinson, Tim and Smith, Caroline L.},
abstractNote = {Mars hosts the solar system’s largest volcanoes. Although their size and impact crater density indicate continued activity over billions of years, their formation rates are poorly understood. Here we quantify the growth rate of a Martian volcano by 40Ar/39Ar and cosmogenic exposure dating of six nakhlites, meteorites that were ejected from Mars by a single impact event at 10.7 ± 0.8 Ma (2σ). We find that the nakhlites sample a layered volcanic sequence with at least four discrete eruptive events spanning 93 ± 12 Ma (1416 ± 7 Ma to 1322 ± 10 Ma (2σ)). A non-radiogenic trapped 40Ar/36Ar value of 1511 ± 74 (2σ) provides a precise and robust constraint for the mid-Amazonian Martian atmosphere. Our data show that the nakhlite-source volcano grew at a rate of ca. 0.4–0.7 m Ma-1—three orders of magnitude slower than comparable volcanoes on Earth, and necessitating that Mars was far more volcanically active earlier in its history.},
doi = {10.1038/s41467-017-00513-8},
journal = {Nature Communications},
number = ,
volume = 8,
place = {United States},
year = {2017},
month = {10}
}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
Publisher's Version of Record

Citation Metrics:
Cited by: 16 works
Citation information provided by
Web of Science

Figures / Tables:

Figure 1 Figure 1: Distribution and size of Martian volcanoes. a Amazonian volcanic products on Mars (digital elevation model and orange outlines43) are located in the Tharsis and Elysium regions, with the largest volcano, the 600 km wide Olympus Mons, rising more than 21 km above the surrounding plains. The red starmore » in the Elysium region marks the location of a potential source crater for the nakhlites42. b Relative characteristics of terrestrial and Martian plume« less

Save / Share:

Works referenced in this record:

The meteorite collection sites of Antarctica
journal, December 1992


Convection Plumes in the Lower Mantle
journal, March 1971


Earth-atmosphere evolution based on new determination of Devonian atmosphere Ar isotopic composition
journal, July 2016

  • Stuart, Finlay M.; Mark, Darren F.; Gandanger, Pierre
  • Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Vol. 446
  • DOI: 10.1016/j.epsl.2016.04.012

PLANETARY SCIENCE: Who Can Read the Martian Clock?
journal, May 2006


Late Amazonian subsidence and magmatism of Olympus Mons, Mars: SUBSIDENCE AND MAGMATISM OF OLYMPUS MONS
journal, September 2015

  • Chadwick, John; McGovern, Patrick; Simpson, Mariel
  • Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, Vol. 120, Issue 9
  • DOI: 10.1002/2015JE004875

A survey of shergottite, nakhlite and chassigny meteorites whole-rock compositions
journal, July 1998


A new approach to cosmogenic corrections in 40Ar/39Ar chronometry: Implications for the ages of Martian meteorites
journal, August 2016


The Olympus volcano on Mars: Geometry and characteristics of lava flows
journal, October 2006


Recurrence rate and magma effusion rate for the latest volcanism on Arsia Mons, Mars
journal, January 2017

  • Richardson, Jacob A.; Wilson, James A.; Connor, Charles B.
  • Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Vol. 458
  • DOI: 10.1016/j.epsl.2016.10.040

Morphometric properties of Martian volcanoes
journal, January 2004


The case for a martian origin of the shergottites, II. Trapped and indigenous gas components in EETA 79001 glass
journal, March 1986


Ar–Ar ages and trapped Ar components in Martian shergottites RBT 04262 and LAR 06319
journal, November 2013

  • Park, Jisun; Bogard, Donald D.; Nyquist, Laurence E.
  • Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, Vol. 121
  • DOI: 10.1016/j.gca.2013.06.045

Northwest Africa 5790: Revisiting nakhlite petrogenesis
journal, October 2016


Abundance and Isotopic Composition of Gases in the Martian Atmosphere from the Curiosity Rover
journal, July 2013


40 Ar/ 39 Ar ages for deep (∼3.3 km) samples from the Hawaii Scientific Drilling Project, Mauna Kea volcano, Hawaii
journal, January 2012

  • Jourdan, Fred; Sharp, Warren D.; Renne, Paul R.
  • Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems, Vol. 13
  • DOI: 10.1029/2011GC004017

A reassessment of the heat transport by variable viscosity convection with plates and lids
journal, February 1989


Martian plate tectonics
journal, January 1994

  • Sleep, Norman H.
  • Journal of Geophysical Research, Vol. 99, Issue E3
  • DOI: 10.1029/94JE00216

Emergence and evolution of Santa Maria Island (Azores)—The conundrum of uplifted islands revisited
journal, October 2016

  • Ramalho, Ricardo S.; Helffrich, George; Madeira, José
  • Geological Society of America Bulletin, Vol. 129, Issue 3-4
  • DOI: 10.1130/B31538.1

Martian Meteorite Launch: High-Speed Ejecta from Small Craters
journal, November 2002


The nakhlite meteorites: Augite-rich igneous rocks from Mars
journal, July 2005


Martian fluid and Martian weathering signatures identified in Nakhla, NWA 998 and MIL 03346 by halogen and noble gas analysis
journal, March 2013


Evidence for shock heating and constraints on Martian surface temperatures revealed by 40Ar/39Ar thermochronometry of Martian meteorites
journal, December 2010

  • Cassata, William S.; Shuster, David L.; Renne, Paul R.
  • Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, Vol. 74, Issue 23
  • DOI: 10.1016/j.gca.2010.08.027

Ejection of Martian meteorites
journal, October 2005


Argon-39-argon-40 “ages” and trapped argon in Martian shergottites, Chassigny, and Allan Hills 84001
journal, May 1999


Step heating of 40Ar/39Ar standard mineral mixtures: Investigation of a fine-grained bulk sediment provenance tool
journal, May 2011


Cosmic-Ray-Produced Noble Gases in Meteorites
journal, January 2002


Interpretation of discordant 40Ar/39Ar age-spectra of mesozoic tholeiites from antarctica
journal, January 1977


Long-Term Evolution of the Martian Crust-Mantle System
journal, November 2012


High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) images of volcanic terrains from the first 6 months of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Primary Science Phase
journal, January 2008

  • Keszthelyi, Laszlo; Jaeger, Windy; McEwen, Alfred
  • Journal of Geophysical Research, Vol. 113, Issue E4
  • DOI: 10.1029/2007JE002968

The volcanic history of Olympus Mons from paleo-topography and flexural modeling
journal, February 2013

  • Isherwood, Ryan J.; Jozwiak, Lauren M.; Jansen, Johanna C.
  • Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Vol. 363
  • DOI: 10.1016/j.epsl.2012.12.020

Trapped Ar isotopes in meteorite ALH 84001 indicate Mars did not have a thick ancient atmosphere
journal, September 2012


Searching for the Source Crater of Nakhlite Meteorites
journal, March 2016

  • Kereszturi, A.; Chatzitheodoridis, E.
  • Origins of Life and Evolution of Biospheres, Vol. 46, Issue 4
  • DOI: 10.1007/s11084-016-9498-x

The global martian volcanic evolutionary history
journal, May 2009


Tharsis as a consequence of Mars' dichotomy and layered mantle
journal, January 2004


Identification of large (2–10 km) rayed craters on Mars in THEMIS thermal infrared images: Implications for possible Martian meteorite source regions
journal, January 2006

  • Tornabene, Livio L.; Moersch, Jeffrey E.; McSween, Harry Y.
  • Journal of Geophysical Research, Vol. 111, Issue E10
  • DOI: 10.1029/2005JE002600

Volcanism and tectonism across the inner solar system: an overview
journal, September 2014

  • Platz, T.; Byrne, P. K.; Massironi, M.
  • Geological Society, London, Special Publications, Vol. 401, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.1144/SP401.22

    Figures/Tables have been extracted from DOE-funded journal article accepted manuscripts.