The core dynamos of Mars and the Moon have distinctly different histories. Mars had no core dynamo at the end of accretion. It took ∼100 Myr for the core to create a strong dynamo that magnetized the martian crust. Giant impacts during 4.2–4.0 Ga crippled the core dynamo intermittently until a thick stagnant lithosphere developed on the surface and reduced the heat flux at the core–mantle boundary, killing the dynamo at ∼3.8 Ga. On the other hand, the Moon had a strong core dynamo at the end of accretion that lasted ∼100 Myr and magnetized its primordial crust. Either precession of the core or thermochemical convection in the mantle or chemical convection in the core created a strong core dynamo that magnetized the sources of the isolated magnetic anomalies in later times. Mars and the Moon indicate dynamo reversals and true polar wander. The polar wander of the Moon is easier to explain compared to that of Mars. It was initiated by the mass deficiency at South Pole Aitken basin, which moved the basin southward by ∼68° relative to the dipole axis of the core field. The formation of mascon maria at later times introduced positive mass anomalies at the surface, forcing the Moon to make an additional ∼52° degree polar wander. Interaction of multiple impact shock waves with the dynamo, the abrupt angular momentum transfer to the mantle by the impactors, and the global overturn of the core after each impact were probably the factors causing the dynamo reversal.

You do not currently have access to this article.