Scientists have the strongest evidence yet that granite exists on Mars. The findings suggest a much more geologically complex Mars than previously believed.
Large amounts of a mineral found in granite, feldspar, have been detected by the spectrometers on board the NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter; the granite is present in an ancient Martian volcano. Moreover, minerals that are common in basalts that are rich in iron and magnesium, ubiquitous on Mars, are nearly completely absent at this location. The location of the feldspar also provides an explanation for how granite could have formed on Mars.
Granite, or its eruptive equivalent, rhyolite, is often found on Earth in tectonically active regions such as subduction zones. This is unlikely on Mars, but the researchers studying the data suggest that prolonged magmatic activity on Mars may well have led to these compositions on large scales.