Intraplate Volcanism in our Solar System; Searching for Terrestrial Analogues for the Moon and Mars
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Basalt volcanism has played a huge role in the shaping of rocky bodies throughout our Solar System, including Earth, the Moon and Mars. Intra-plate volcanism has produced millions of cubic kilometres of basaltic lava on Earth, forming the likes of the Deccan Volcanic Province and Columbia River Flood Basalts, and through orbital and lander missions, flood lavas have also been identified on the Moon and Mars. These remote observations were also confirmed by lunar field observations and samples taken during the Apollo and Luna missions and an intraplate origin inferred due to their one-plate nature. The lack of direct samples for these bodies (particularly for Mars), however, has meant geochemical studies comparing these basalts to Earth have been limited. In this study, petrological and geochemical data for Lunar (basaltic breccias) and Martian (lherzolitic and olivine-phyric Shergottites) meteorites were obtained using non-destructive analysis - Scanning Electron Microscopy - and compared to terrestrial analogues of intra-plate origin (from Hawaii, New Mexico and Northern Ireland (ESA01-A)) in a search for accurate terrestrial analogues for the Moon and Mars. These analogues are important for testing components and in situ resource utilisation of spacecraft across these planetary bodies, in addition to giving indications of how these lavas may have formed. Whilst official analogue ESA01-A has displayed similarities across bulk geochemistry to Martian Shergottites, other field samples have proven to be more similar to the petrological and geochemical observations seen in olivine-phyric Martian Shergottites, and, as a result, could make for a more accurate chemical analogue for Martian volcanism.
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