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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

AAPG Bulletin


Volume: 57 (1973)

Issue: 4. (April)

First Page: 812

Last Page: 812

Title: Comparison of Geologic Cycles of Earth, Moon, and Mars: ABSTRACT

Author(s): Raymond C. Wilson, M. Dane Picard

Article Type: Meeting abstract


The geologic cycle of a planet depicts the interaction of impact, surface, and internal tectonic processes on the planetary surface. The earth has a "closed-loop" geologic cycle in which source rocks are eroded but are continuously recycled. In contrast, the moon apparently has an "open-loop" geologic cycle in which the primitive crust is irreversibly destroyed. On the earth, impact plays a minor role and surface and tectonic processes are approximately equally active. That is, if averaged over the globe through geologic history, the rate of uplift equals the rate of erosion. On the moon, impact processes are dominant and there are only minor surface and tectonic effects. Preliminary interpretations of the rock cycle and the "ice cycle" of Mars are presented as sources of questions for future analysis. Apparently, the geologic cycle of Mars involves surface and tectonic phenomena as well as impact phenomena.

Surface processes active on Mars include eolian erosion and deposition. The "channels" in the equatorial regions are evidence of intermittent stream erosion. The tectonic processes of Mars have been investigated by mapping regional stress patterns from analysis of observed lineament (fracture) systems.

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Copyright 1997 American Association of Petroleum Geologists