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Hydrous melting of the Martian mantle produced both depleted and enriched shergottites

Francis M. McCubbin, Erik H. Hauri, Stephen M. Elardo, Kathleen E. Vander Kaaden, Jianhua Wang and Charles K. Shearer
Hydrous melting of the Martian mantle produced both depleted and enriched shergottites
Geology (Boulder) (June 2012) 40 (8): 683-686


The search for water in our solar system is one of the primary driving forces for planetary science and exploration because water plays an important role in many geologic processes and is required for biologic processes as we currently understand them. Excluding Earth, Mars is the most promising destination in the inner solar system to find water, as it is undoubtedly responsible for shaping many geomorphologic features observed on the present-day martian surface; however, the water content of the martian interior is currently unresolved. Much of our information about the martian interior comes from studies of the basaltic martian meteorites (shergottites). In this study we examined the water contents of magmatic apatites from a geochemically enriched shergottite (the Shergotty meteorite) and a geochemically depleted shergottite (the Queen Alexandria Range 94201 meteorite). From these data, we determined that there was little difference in water contents between the geochemically depleted and enriched shergottite magmas. The water contents of the apatite imply that shergottite parent magmas contained 730-2870 ppm H (sub 2) O prior to degassing. Furthermore, the martian mantle contains 73-290 ppm H (sub 2) O and underwent hydrous melting as recently as 327 Ma. In the absence of plate tectonics, the presence of water in the interior of Mars requires planetary differentiation under hydrous conditions. This is the first evidence of significant hydrogen storage in a planetary interior at the time of core formation, and this process could support elevated H abundances in the interiors of other terrestrial bodies like the Moon, Mercury, Venus, large differentiated asteroids, and Earth.

ISSN: 0091-7613
EISSN: 1943-2682
Serial Title: Geology (Boulder)
Serial Volume: 40
Serial Issue: 8
Title: Hydrous melting of the Martian mantle produced both depleted and enriched shergottites
Affiliation: University of New Mexico, Institute of Meteoritics, Albuquerque, NM, United States
Pages: 683-686
Published: 20120615
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of America (GSA), Boulder, CO, United States
References: 37
Accession Number: 2012-065567
Categories: Petrology of meteorites and tektitesExtraterrestrial geology
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Annotation: With GSA Data Repository Item 2012209; accessed on July 5, 2012
Illustration Description: illus.
Source Medium: WWW
S90°00'00" - S61°00'00", W180°00'00" - E180°00'00"
Secondary Affiliation: Carnegie Institution of Washington, USA, United States
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data from GeoScienceWorld, Alexandria, VA, United States. Reference includes data supplied by the Geological Society of America, Boulder, CO, United States
Update Code: 201234
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