The Tharsis mantle source of depleted shergottites revealed by 90 million impact cratersOPEN ACCESS 

A. Lagain, G. K. Benedix, K. Servis, D. Baratoux, L. S. Doucet, A. Rajšic, H. A. R. Devillepoix, P. A. Bland, M. C. Towner, E. K. Sansom & K. Miljković

Nature Communications, Volume 12, Article number: 6352 (2021)


Crater density map (high-resolution version)
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Source Data (ZIP)

“The only martian rock samples on Earth are meteorites ejected from the surface of Mars by asteroid impacts. The locations and geological contexts of the launch sites are currently unknown. Determining the impact locations is essential to unravel the relations between the evolution of the martian interior and its surface. Here we adapt a Crater Detection Algorithm that compile a database of 90 million impact craters, allowing to determine the potential launch position of these meteorites through the observation of secondary crater fields. We show that Tooting and 09-000015 craters, both located in the Tharsis volcanic province, are the most likely source of the depleted shergottites ejected 1.1 million year ago. This implies that a major thermal anomaly deeply rooted in the mantle under Tharsis was active over most of the geological history of the planet, and has sampled a depleted mantle, that has retained until recently geochemical signatures of Mars’ early history.”