Geophysical evidence supports migration of Tharsis volcanism on Mars


Correspondence to: S. D. King,


Tharsis swell represents the largest area of volcanism on Mars and sits adjacent to the dichotomy between the northern lowlands and southern highlands. While a number of investigators have proposed that Tharsis volcanism and topographic swell was caused by a stationary mantle plume, both numerical and tank experiments find that a plume will rise beneath a region of thick lithosphere, hence somewhere beneath the southern highlands on Mars. We present models of crustal thickness which show a region of thickened crust associated with previously mapped geologic units that have been suggested to represent the path of the Tharsis plume. We find a similarity in topography and structure between the proposed Tharsis plume track on Mars and the Snake River plain/Yellowstone hot spot track in western North America.