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Thread: What geologic features indicate that plate tectonic activity

  1. #1 What geologic features indicate that plate tectonic activity 
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    What geologic features indicate that plate tectonic activity once occurred in Mars? What features created by tectonics activity on Earth are not found on Mars? Thanks ahead of time.


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    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    are you confusing tectonic with volcanic ? because i'm not aware that Mars ever had plate tectonics


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    Evidently there is some recent description of a type of tectonic activity on Mars, here:

    http://dsc.discovery.com/news/2008/1...tectonics.html

    I had previously heard of magnetic field evidence indicating tectonics on Mars, such as described here:

    http://geology.com/nasa/mars-plate-tectonics.shtml
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  5. #4  
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    Quote Originally Posted by free radical
    Evidently there is some recent description of a type of tectonic activity on Mars, here:

    http://dsc.discovery.com/news/2008/1...tectonics.html

    I had previously heard of magnetic field evidence indicating tectonics on Mars, such as described here:

    http://geology.com/nasa/mars-plate-tectonics.shtml
    Hi, radical, it seems to me that any descriptive feature of Mars would involve ridges. Ridge uplift and mountain ranges are direct consequences of colliding plates.

    But maybe on Mars the smoothe sliding of the entire outer skin would have a less ruffled effect on the planet and so the process should not be considered "plate tectonics"
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    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    i'm also a bit confused with a system of plate tectonics that has only one plate
    isn't that a bit like the clapping of one hand ?
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  7. #6  
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    Crust motion relative to convections could yield traveling hot-spots, i.e. a chain of volcanoes. Can we call that tectonic?
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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  8. #7 Re: What geologic features indicate that plate tectonic acti 
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyberfriend
    What geologic features indicate that plate tectonic activity once occurred in Mars?
    None that I'm aware of. The article free radical posted is pretty interesting (thanks!), but signifies a sort of 'pseudo tectonics' that, imo, most geologists would consider separate from what we see on Earth.

    What features created by tectonics activity on Earth are not found on Mars?
    Hotspot tracks, continental arcs, orogenic belts, mid-ocean spreading ridges, ancient suture zones.
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    I don't think there is any techtonic activity on Mars which is the reason why Olympus Mons became so high. Because there is no movement over top of the volcanic vent so it just grows and grows.
    "The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt" - Bertrand Russell
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  10. #9 Re: What geologic features indicate that plate tectonic acti 
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    Quote Originally Posted by tenderheart bear
    What features created by tectonics activity on Earth are not found on Mars?
    Hotspot tracks, continental arcs, orogenic belts, mid-ocean spreading ridges, ancient suture zones.
    Traveling hotspots are plausible with single crust though. You just need relative movement of convections, I think..? Are core and crust locked together?
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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  11. #10 Re: What geologic features indicate that plate tectonic acti 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    Quote Originally Posted by tenderheart bear
    What features created by tectonics activity on Earth are not found on Mars?
    Hotspot tracks, continental arcs, orogenic belts, mid-ocean spreading ridges, ancient suture zones.
    Traveling hotspots are plausible with single crust though. You just need relative movement of convections, I think..? Are core and crust locked together?
    With Mars, I believe the general consensus is that its heat engine has been severely limited for a long time - couple billion years, even? (Don't quote me on that, though, I'm just probing the dark, dank, and often faulty recesses of my mind.) It's my understanding this view is supported by the planet's weak magnetic field.

    I would agree that hotspot tracks on Mars are plausible in a psuedo-tectonic setting, but two obvious questions arise for me:

    1. Do we see any? If we look at the Hawaiin chain, we can see a clearly delineated record of plate motion (and even directional change) in the record. Same with the Yellowstone hotspot track; and indeed, its abrupt appearence at ~17 Ma at the cratonic margin may indicate interference with the subducting Farallon plate - indirect evidence of plate tectonics. Of course, Mars is definitely understudied, but even if we did find hotspot tracks, that leads me to the next question...

    2. ...Would a hotspot track signify what we are *really* hoping to discover? Terrestrial-style tectonics is linked to the carbon cycle, and is often credited with being a foundation for life on Earth. A simplified reason for the CO2 inferno on Venus is that it doesn't have plate tectonics either. So while hotspot tracks on Mars would be an awesome discovery - exciting news for sure! - it wouldn't provide that additional indicator toward ancient life at which we'd ultimately salivate to see.
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