Martian basaltic rocks represent samples of the interior of the planet, and their elemental composition reflects their mantle source composition at their time of extraction as well as later igneous processes that affected them. Basaltic shergottitic meteorites can be studied in extreme detail and provide information on relatively young products of the Martian mantle (as young as 173 ± 3Ma), but lack geologic context. Igneous rocks examined by rover missions in Gusev and Gale Craters represent a complementary dataset. These rocks are generally thought to be older (>3.5 Ga) and their geologic context is better understood because we know where on the planet they are derived. Together, the meteorites and landed datasets suggest that the Martian mantle is heterogeneous with respect to volatile elements (K). A limited range in oxygen fugacity implies that tectonic recycling of surface materials into the Martian interior is also limited.
Coffee and Refreshments will be available in SSC 1511.