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Magnetic Lineations in the Ancient Crust of Mars

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Science  30 Apr 1999:
Vol. 284, Issue 5415, pp. 794-798
DOI: 10.1126/science.284.5415.794

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Abstract

The Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft, in a highly elliptical polar orbit, obtained vector magnetic field measurements above the surface of Mars (altitudes >100 kilometers). Crustal magnetization, mainly confined to the most ancient, heavily cratered martian highlands, is frequently organized in east-west–trending linear features, the longest extending over 2000 kilometers. Crustal remanent magnetization exceeds that of terrestrial crust by more than an order of magnitude. Groups of quasi-parallel linear features of alternating magnetic polarity were found. They are reminiscent of similar magnetic features associated with sea floor spreading and crustal genesis on Earth but with a much larger spatial scale. They may be a relic of an era of plate tectonics on Mars.

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