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New Perspectives on Ancient Mars


Mars was most active during its first billion years. The core, mantle, and crust formed within approximately 50 million years of solar system formation. A magnetic dynamo in a convecting fluid core magnetized the crust, and the global field shielded a more massive early atmosphere against solar wind stripping. The Tharsis province became a focus for volcanism, deformation, and outgassing of water and carbon dioxide in quantities possibly sufficient to induce episodes of climate warming. Surficial and near-surface water contributed to regionally extensive erosion, sediment transport, and chemical alteration. Deep hydrothermal circulation accelerated crustal cooling, preserved variations in crustal thickness, and modified patterns of crustal magnetization.

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