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Mars pyroxene map

Date: 03 June 2013
Satellite: Mars Express
Copyright: ESA/CNES/CNRS/IAS/Université Paris-Sud, Orsay; Background image: NASA MOLA

Like olivine, pyroxene results from volcanic processes that trace the evolution of the planet’s interior, its chemical composition acting as a tracer of the evolution of the temperature and pressure inside the planet.

Pyroxenes are particularly widespread in the cratered highlands, pointing to some of the most ancient portions of the planet’s crust. In the smooth northern plains, the pyroxenes reflect the eruption of more evolved lavas compared to the pristine magnesium-rich olivines. The change in composition over time suggests that older lavas may have had higher temperatures than younger lavas.

The colour scale represents the abundance of pyroxene, from low (blue) to high (red).

Last Update: 03 June 2013

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