|1 May 2009
GSA Release No. 09-22
Director of Education, Communication, & Outreach
Comparing Mars to Earth: Catastrophe and History
Boulder, CO, USA - This GSA Special Paper focuses on the catastrophic events that have influenced both Mars and Earth and is part of the ongoing search for the correct balance between catastrophic and uniformitarian processes. The book aims to "expand the geoscience horizons" of a wide range of readers by examining evidence for various geologic catastrophes on both Earth and Mars, their preservation on Earth as compared to Mars, and how these events may have influenced Earth’s evolution.
Catastrophic events discussed in this volume include impact cratering, megafloods, megascale eruptions, sub-ice volcanism on Earth, and natural disasters and human behavior.
Volume editors Mary G. Chapman and Lazlo P. Keszthelyi of the U.S. Geological Survey’s astrogeology team want to know why such large, catastrophic, and unusual events are readily apparent on the surface of Mars but are relatively poorly recorded on Earth. They ask whether the differences are solely the result of the poor preservation on Earth due to gradualistic processes such as tectonics and erosion, or whether they are due to inherent differences in the gravity, atmosphere, climate, and materials of the two planets.
The six chapters in this volume also address the questions, "What is the relative importance of non-uniform, catastrophic, and unusual processes as compared to gradualistic, uniformitarian processes in shaping the geomorphic, climatic, and biotic history of the Earth? What can we learn about these processes on Mars that we can extend to our knowledge of the Earth?"
This Geological Society of America Special Paper is dedicated to the memory of William T. Chapman (21 Dec. 1919–29 June 2006) and David J. MacKinnon (23 Sept. 1944–19 Oct. 2006).
Individual copies of the volume may be purchased through the Geological Society of America online store, or by contacting GSA Sales and Service, .
Book editors of earth science journals/publications may request a review copy by contacting Jeanette Hammann, .
Preservation of Random Megascale Events on Mars and Earth: Influence on Geologic History
Mary G. Chapman and Laszlo P. Keszthelyi (editors)
Geological Society of America Special Paper 453
2009, 86 pages, US40.00, GSA member price US$28.00