High-resolution local magnetic field models for the Martian South Pole from Mars Global Surveyor data

A. Plattner, F. J. Simons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


We present two high-resolution local models for the crustal magnetic field of the Martian south polar region. Models SP130 and SP130M were derived from three-component measurements made by Mars Global Surveyor at nighttime and at low altitude (<200 km). The availability area for these data covers the annulus between latitudes -76° and -87° and contains a strongly magnetized region (southern parts of Terra Sirenum) adjacent to weakly magnetized terrains (such as Prometheus Planum). Our localized field inversions take into account the region of data availability, a finite spectral bandlimit (spherical harmonic degree L = 130), and the varying satellite altitude at each observation point. We downward continue the local field solutions to a sphere of Martian polar radius 3376 km. While weakly magnetized areas in model SP130 contain inversion artifacts caused by strongly magnetized crust nearby, these artifacts are largely avoided in model SP130M, a mosaic of inversion results obtained by independently solving for the fields over individual subregions. Robust features of both models are magnetic stripes of alternating polarity in southern Terra Sirenum that end abruptly at the rim of Prometheus Planum, an impact crater with a weak or undetectable magnetic field. From a prominent and isolated dipole-like magnetic feature close to Australe Montes, we estimate a paleopole with a best fit location at longitude 207° and latitude 48°. From the abruptly ending magnetic field stripes, we estimate average magnetization values of up to 15 A/m.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1543-1566
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research E: Planets
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Mars
  • Slepian functions
  • South Pole
  • localization
  • magnetic field
  • vector field


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