The composition of Mars

Takashi Yoshizaki, William F. McDonough

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Comparing compositional models of the terrestrial planets provides insights into physicochemical processes that produced planet-scale similarities and differences. The widely accepted compositional model for Mars assumes Mn and more refractory elements are in CI chondrite proportions in the planet, including Fe, Mg, and Si, which along with O make up >90% of the mass of Mars. However, recent improvements in our understandings on the composition of the solar photosphere and meteorites challenge the use of CI chondrite as an analog of Mars. Here we present an alternative model composition for Mars that avoids such an assumption and is based on data from Martian meteorites and spacecraft observations. Our modeling method was previously applied to predict the Earth's composition. The model establishes the absolute abundances of refractory lithophile elements in the bulk silicate Mars (BSM) at 2.26 times higher than that in CI carbonaceous chondrites. Relative to this chondritic composition, Mars has a systematic depletion in moderately volatile lithophile elements as a function of their condensation temperatures. Given this finding, we constrain the abundances of siderophile and chalcophile elements in the bulk Mars and its core. The Martian volatility trend is consistent with ⩽7 wt% S in its core, which is significantly lower than that assumed in most core models (i.e., >10 wt% S). Furthermore, the occurrence of ringwoodite at the Martian core-mantle boundary might have contributed to the partitioning of O and H into the Martian core.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-162
Number of pages26
JournalGeochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
Volume273
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Mar 15

Keywords

  • Core
  • Cosmochemistry
  • Mantle
  • Mars
  • Terrestrial planets

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geochemistry and Petrology

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