Mars' crustal origins could be quite complex.

Mars' crustal origins could be quite complex.

Previously, scientists believed that the genesis of the Martian crust was simple. 

 Because the crust is equally basaltic (a type of igneous rock), it was thought to have formed when a planet-wide ocean of magma cooled.

However, fresh study suggests that specific parts of the Martian crust have more silica than expected, which modifies the scenario.

"There is more silica in the composition, which makes the rocks not basalt, but what we call more developed in composition," Valerie Payré, the study's lead author and assistant professor at the University of Iowa, said in a statement. 

 "That informs us that the formation of the crust on Mars is far more intricate than we previously thought."

This result supports an alternative explanation of Martian crust formation, implying that the crust evolved in numerous phases, a more complex process than the cooling of a massive lava ocean.

"There have been surface rovers that have observed rocks that were more silicic than basaltic," Payré explained. "As a result, there was speculation that the crust could be more silicic.

 But we never knew how the early crust originated, and we still don't know how old it is, so it's still a mystery."

"We don't know the origins of our planet's crust; we don't even know when life first appeared," Payré explained.