Traits and evolution of the tharsis superplume, Mars

James M. Dohm, Victor R. Baker, Shigenori Maruyama, Robert C. Anderson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

35 Citations (Scopus)


When compared to the previous explanations that attempt to explain the long-lived internal heat engine of Tharsis, Mars (e.g., >3 Ga), the Tharsis Superplume hypothesis provides a cohesive explanation for the evolution of the magmatic complex and forms a sound basis for further productive inquiry. Contributors to its formation and long-term, pulsating evolution may include: (1) extremely ancient plate tectonism (Baker et al., this volume), (2) an extremely ancient giant impact in the Arabia Terra region, which is located nearly antipodal to the superplume (Dohm et al., 2004), and (3) later smaller impacts (e.g., Hellas and Isidis) when compared to the putative Arabia impact with a primary basin estimated to be at least 3000 km in diameter. The extensive geological and paleohydrological records of the Tharsis Superplume presented here, which includes extremely long-lived magma and liquid and frozen water interactions in the subsurface and the surface, have tremendous implications concerning future missions to Mars that will unfold the potential astrobiological information that awaits discovery.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSuperplumes: Beyond Plate Tectonics
PublisherSpringer Netherlands
Number of pages14
ISBN (Print)9781402057496
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

Cite this

Dohm, J. M., Baker, V. R., Maruyama, S., & Anderson, R. C. (2007). Traits and evolution of the tharsis superplume, Mars. In Superplumes: Beyond Plate Tectonics (pp. 523-536). Springer Netherlands.