Mars Crustal Magnetism
- Cite this article as:
- Connerney, J., Acuña, M., Ness, N. et al. Space Science Reviews (2004) 111: 1. doi:10.1023/B:SPAC.0000032719.40094.1d
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Mars lacks a detectable magnetic field of global scale, but boasts a rich spectrum of magnetic fields at smaller spatial scales attributed to the spatial variation of remanent magnetism in the crust. On average the Mars crust is 10 times more intensely magnetized than that of the Earth. It appears likely that the Mars crust acquired its remanence in the first few hundred million years of evolution when an active dynamo sustained an intense global field. An early dynamo era, ending in the Noachian, or earliest period of Mars chronology, would likely be driven by thermal convection in an early, hot, fluid core. If crustal remanence was acquired later in Mars history, a dynamo driven by chemical convection associated with the solidification of an inner core is likely. Thermal evolution models cannot yet distinguish between these two possibilities. The magnetic record contains a wealth of information on the thermal evolution of Mars and the Mars dynamo, but we have just begun to decipher its message.