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This book results from a workshop at the International Space Science Institute (ISSI) in Bern, Switzerland, where geochemists, geophysicists, and photogeologists have combined their expertise to constrain the timescales and geological processes in the evolution of Mars. In order to achieve this goal, the ages of cratered lunar surfaces, which are dated precisely by the radiometric ages of returned samples, have been taken as a reference for the inner solar system chronology. The derived ages of cratered geological units on Mars indicate ongoing geological activity from about 4.5 Gyr ago till modern geologic time. Ancient surfaces involve primordial crustal material with strong magnetization that has remained from Mars' core formation within the first 20 Myr of the solar system, whereas other surfaces were created during major geological processing at about 3-4.5 Gyr ago, probably associated with a denser atmosphere and more fluvial environment, and also to exposures of volcanism.The youngest surfaces indicate volcanism, weathering, gullying, exhumation, and modest water release all operating within the last few 100 Myr, with the youngest detected flows at less than 10 Myr ago. Neither Earth nor Moon offers such a complete geological record. This picture is consistent with radiometric age data of Martian meteorites which indicate that Mars has not only ancient crustal material, as represented in the ALH84001 meteorite, but at least some geologically young igneous rocks with ages of a few 100 Myr. Remote sensing of the Martian surface identifies two broad groups of igneous rock units, basaltic and andesitic, as is confirmed by in-situ chemical analyses at the Pathfinder landing site.Based on these results, the book contains an update on the overall stratigraphic system and geologic processes of the Martian surface, and a recent review on the newest models of the Martian interior structure and on the knowledge about the history of the Martian atmosphere and hydrosphere.
Friends of this book. Introduction: A New Chapter in Mars Research; R. Kallenbach. I. Chronology of Mars and of the Inner Solar System. Stratigraphy and Isotope Ages of Lunar geologic Units: Chronological Standard for the Inner Solar System; D. Stoffler, G. Ryder. Cratering Records in the Inner Solar System in Relation to the Lunar Reference System; G. Neukum, et al. Mars/Moon Cratering Rate Ratio Estimates; B.A. Ivanov. Ages and Geologic Histories of Martian Meteorites; L.E. Nyquist, et al. Cratering Chronology and the Evolution of Mars; W.K. Hartmann, G. Neukum. II: Evolution of the Interior and Surface of Mars. The Accretion, Composition and Early Differentiation of Mars; A.N. Halliday, et al. Geophysical Constraints on the Evolution of Mars; T. Spohn, et al. Geological Processes and Evolution; J.W. Head, et al. The Martian Surface Composition; J.P. Bibring, S. Erard. Chemical Composition of Rocks and Soils at the Pathfinder Site; H. Wanke, et al. III: History and Fate of the Martian Atmosphere and Hydrosphere. Geomorphologic Evidence for Liquid Water; P. Masson, et al. Alteration Assemblages in Martian Meteorites: Implications for Near-Surface Processes; J.C. Bridges, et al. Aeolian Processes and Their Effects on Understanding the Chronology of Mars; R. Greeley, et al. Martian Seeps and Their Relation to Youthful Geothermal Activity; W.K. Hartmann. The Atmosphere of Mars as Constrained by Remote Sensing; T. Encrenaz. Martian Volatiles: Isotopic Composition, Origin, and Evolution; D.D. Bogard, et al. Epilogue. Summary: New Views and New Directions in Mars Research; W.K. Hartmann, et al. Glossary. Subject Index. List of Acronyms and Basic Mars Data. Author Index. List of Participants.