The internal structure and geodynamics of Mars inferred from a 4.2-Gyr zircon recordOPEN ACCESS 

Maria M. Costa, Ninna K. Jensen, Laura C. Bouvier, James N. Connelly, Takashi Mikouchi, Matthew S. A. Horstwood, Jussi-Petteri Suuronen, Frédéric Moynier, Zhengbin Deng, Arnaud Agranier, Laure A. J. Martin, Tim E. Johnson, Alexander A. Nemchin, and Martin Bizzarro

PNAS, first published November 16, 2020


“We discovered a zircon record in a Martian meteorite that spans 4.2 Gyr, nearly the entire geologic history of Mars. Ancient zircons define a bimodal distribution with groupings at 4474 ± 10 Ma and 4442 ± 17 Ma, reflecting intense bombardment episodes triggered by the migration of the gas giant planets. A group of younger detrital zircons record ages from 1548.0 ± 8.8 Ma to 299.5 ± 0.6 Ma. The only plausible sources for these grains are the Elysium and Tharsis volcanic provinces that are the expressions of deep-seated mantle plumes. The chondritic-like Hf-isotope compositions of these zircons require the existence of a primitive and convecting mantle reservoir. Thus, these grains provide a tangible record of the deep Martian interior.”