Constraints on the formation of the Martian crustal dichotomy from remnant crustal magnetism

TYPEAstrophysics Seminar
Speaker:Robert Citron
Affiliation:Weizmann and Technion
Organizer:Hagai Perets
Time:14:30 - 15:30
Location:Lidow 620
Abstract:The Martian crustal dichotomy characterizing the topographic difference between the northern and southern hemispheres is one of the most important features on Mars. However, the formation mechanism for the dichotomy remains controversial with two competing proposals: exogenic (e.g., a giant impact) and endogenic (e.g., degree-1 mantle convection) mechanisms. Another important observation is the Martian crustal remnant magnetism, which shows a much stronger field in the southern hemisphere than in the northern hemisphere and also magnetic lineations. We examine how exogenic and endogenic mechanisms for the crustal dichotomy are constrained by crustal remnant magnetism. Although a giant impact may cause crustal demagnetization in the northern hemisphere, we suggest that the impact could also demagnetize the southern hemisphere via ejecta thermal blanketing, impact demagnetization, and heat transfer from the hot layer of ejecta, posing a challenge for the giant impact model. We explore how the pattern of magnetic lineations relates to endogenic theories of dichotomy formation, specifically crustal production via degree-1 mantle convection. We observe that the pattern of lineations roughly corresponds to concentric circles about a single pole, and determine the pole for the concentric circles at 76.5° E and 84.5° S, which nearly overlaps with the centroid of the thickened crust in the southern hemisphere. We suggest that the crustal magnetization pattern, magnetic lineations, and crustal dichotomy can be explained by a simple endogenic process; one-plume convection causes melting and crustal production above the plume in the southern hemisphere, and strong crustal magnetization and magnetic lineations are formed in the southern hemisphere as crustal production fronts spread radially out from the plume center and as the newly created crust cools in the presence of a dynamo with polarity reversals.