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Mars, Melts, and Magnetism: Using Synthetic Basalts to Understand the Red Planet

February 14, 2017, 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Location Center for Environmental and Life Sciences - 120
Posted InCollege of Science and Mathematics

About Dr. Stefanie Brachfeld

Dr. Brachfeld is Professor and Chair of Earth and Environmental Studies, and Director of the PhD program in Environmental Management. Her research activities are diverse and address ocean-atmosphere-cryosphere interactions in Antarctica, the evolution of magnetic fields on Earth and Mars, and the use of magnetic minerals as forensic tracers of natural and anthropogenic processes. Dr. Brachfeld has participated in 10 marine geology and geophysics expeditions to Antarctica, the Arctic Ocean, and North Atlantic Ocean, several of which included Montclair State University students. Dr. Brachfeld’s research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Ocean Drilling Program, and Antarctic Drilling Program. 

About the Seminar

In 1965 the Mariner 4 space-craft flew within 10,000 km of Mars during a “fly-by” mission, sending back the first images of the surface of Mars. Mariner 4 also carried a magnetometer and determined that unlike Earth, Mars was not surrounded by planet-wide magnetic field. Therefore, it was a source of surprise when the 1997 Mars Global Surveyor mission detector isolated patches of magnetization emanating from the Mars Southern Cratered Highlands. This suggests that Mars had a magnetic field in the past, but the field has since shut down. This presentation will discuss the relationship between magnetic fields and a planet’s evolution, and how synthetic igneous rocks “cooked” in a laboratory are being used to explore the surface and interior of Mars.