The heights of four great shield volcanoes, when interpreted as reflecting the local hydrostatic head on a common source of upwelling magma, provide significant constraints on models of lithospheric structure beneath the Tharsis plateau. If Bouguer gravity anomalies are modeled in terms of a variable thickness crust, and a two-component (crust/mantle) earth-like structure is assumed for the Martian lithosphere, the derived model lithosphere beneath the Tharsis plateau has the following properties: (1) the upper low-density 'crustal' component is thickened beneath the Tharsis plateau; (2) the lower high-density 'mantle' component is thinned beneath the Tharsis plateau; and (3) there is a net gradient on the base of the Martian lithosphere directed downward away from beneath the summit of the Tharsis plateau. A long history of magmatic intrusion is hypothesized to have been the cause of the updoming of the Tharsis plateau and the maintenance of the plateau in a state of only partial compensation.
Lunar and Planetary Science Conference Proceedings
- Pub Date:
- April 1976
- Mars Surface;
- Planetary Structure;
- Gravity Anomalies;
- Lunar and Planetary Exploration