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New Book Provides Synthesis of Research on Martian Volcanoes

david crown mars book cover

PSI Senior Scientist David A. Crown is an author on a new book that provides an up-to-date synthesis of research investigations that characterize the numerous and diverse volcanoes observed on Mars. 

 “The Volcanoes of Marsoffers a clear, cohesive summary of Mars volcanology. It begins with an introduction to the geology and geography of the red planet and an overview of its volcanic history, and continues to discuss each distinct volcanic province, identifying the common and unique aspects of each region. Incorporating basic volcanological information and constraints on the regional geologic history derived from geologic mapping, the book also examines current constraints on the composition of the volcanic rocks as investigated by both orbiting spacecraft and rovers. In addition, it compares the features of Martian volcanoes to those seen on other volcanic bodies. 

Concluding with prospects for new knowledge to be gained from future Mars missions, this book brings researchers in volcanology and the study of Mars up to date on the latest findings in the study of volcanoes on Mars, allowing the reader to compare and contrast Martian volcanoes to volcanoes studied on Earth and throughout the Solar System. 

“A featured aspect of our book is the discussion of geologic maps of volcanic regions on Mars. These maps show the diversity of volcanic landforms on Mars and the role of volcanism in Mars’ geologic history, as well as reveal many important details of the Martian surface that can now be documented with high-resolution imaging datasets acquired by recent spacecraft,” said Crown, co-author of “The Volcanoes of Mars” published by Elsevier Books. 

Crown was lead author on the chapter describing the Circum-Hellas Volcanic Province, which includes extensive volcanic plains and a series of volcanic features in terrains surrounding the approximate 2,000 kilometers across Hellas impact basin. The Circum-Hellas Volcanic Province contains a type of volcano (called highland paterae) not seen in the younger, more prominent volcanic regions that are dominated by shield volcanoes and provides the most direct evidence for large-scale explosive volcanism on Mars. 

“Writing this chapter was personally of interest as my dissertation research nearly 30 years ago focused on studies of the Martian highland paterae using data from NASA’s Viking orbiters. Our book provided the impetus for me to carefully review research results from the more recent missions and reconnect with a topic that I spent countless hours on in the past,” he said. 

“Compiling the information for this book gave me a renewed appreciation of our existing state of knowledge regarding the wonders of volcanoes on Mars. Our current understanding is informed by numerous important contributions from the many sub-disciplines of planetary geology,” Crown said. “While our current state of knowledge is relatively advanced, there are important unanswered questions and many mysteries that remain for future scientific study.” 

Co-authors on the book are James R. Zimbelman of the Smithsonian Institution, Peter J. Mouginis-Mark of the University of Hawaii, and Tracy K.P. Gregg of the University at Buffalo. 

“The Volcanoes of Mars” is 260 pages, published by Elsevier Books and available at, at, and on

Jan. 10, 2020
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