Tharsis superplume and the geological evolution of early Mars

Victor R. Baker, Shigenori Maruyama, James M. Dohm

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

59 Scopus citations


Anomalous aspects of Martian geology are explained by a theory that incorporates the onset and termination of a core dynamo, associated with an early regime of plate tectonics during the first few hundred million years of the planet's history. Rapid accretion of thickened continental crust, as modified by concurrent high impacting rates, volcanism, and denudation, ultimately resulted in the southern highlands. Following cessation of the dynamo, the platetectonic regime terminated with zones of focused subduction in the Tharsis and Elysium areas. The resulting high concentration of water and other volatiles in the Martian deep mantle led to the Tharsis and Elysium superplumes, the long-term persistence of which is responsible for much of the volcanism, tectonism, water outbursts, and climate change that mark the subsequent, 4-billion-year geological history of Mars.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSuperplumes
Subtitle of host publicationBeyond Plate Tectonics
PublisherSpringer Netherlands
Number of pages16
ISBN (Print)9781402057496
StatePublished - 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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