Mars has a continental crust

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  • Published: Jul 13, 2015
  • Author: Steve Down
  • Channels: Atomic
thumbnail image: Mars has a continental crust

An unexpected diversity in the compositions of 22 rocks in the Gale Crater on Mars suggests that the planet has a continental crust similar to that on Earth.

The Curiosity rover landed in Gale Crater on Mars and analysed a number of rocks in its journey across this feature using the onboard laser-induced breakdown spectrometer. Now, the results have been published in Nature Geoscience and they suggest that Mars has a continental crust which is similar to that on Earth.

The conclusion is based on the compositions of the rocks which are rich in silica but have different compositions and textures. This diversity was unexpected as the Martian surface was thought to consist principally of basalts and Earth’s continental crust was thought to be unique.

The new results indicate that the early geochemistry of Mars is similar to that of Earth, although the mechanism by which the Martian crust was formed remains to be determined.

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