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Science. 1999 Apr 30;284(5415):794-8.

Magnetic lineations in the ancient crust of mars

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NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771, USA. Bartol Research Institute, University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19716, USA. Centre d'Etude Spatiale des Rayonnements, 31028 Toulouse Cedex 4, France. Space Sciences Laboratory, University.


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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