The University of Arizona

The oxygen fugacity of olivine-phyric martian basalts and the components within the mantle and crust of Mars

C. D. K. Herd


The oxygen fugacity of olivine-phyric martian basalts is estimated using olivine-pyroxene- spinel equilibria, supported by detailed petrography. Results are plotted, along with previous oxygen fugacity estimates, against La/Yb, which is used as a proxy for long-term incompatible-element depletion or enrichment in martian basalt reservoirs. In general, the correlation between oxygen fugacity and La/Yb observed by Herd et al. (2002a) holds for the olivine-phyric basalts. The implications of the correlation are re-evaluated in light of work by Borg et al. (Forthcoming), which indicates that the variations in radiogenic isotopic composition can be modeled by mixing of mantle sources established by 4.5 Ga through crystallization of a magma ocean in lieu of assimilation of crustal material. The results demonstrate that the crust-like component, interpreted as trapped liquid in a magma ocean cumulate pile, must be oxidized to explain the oxygen fugacity of the martian basalts. Consequently, the pre-eruptive water contents of the more oxidized basalts are expected to be higher, although water is not called upon as the cause of the oxidation. Unmixing of mantle components provides an important context for the interpretation of oxygen isotopes, demonstrated here, and of samples returned from the martian surface.


Mars mantle;neodymium Isotopes;strontium Isotopes; oxygen Isotopes;Oxygen fugacity;SNC meteorites

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