Is Earth-based scaling a valid procedure for calculating heat flows for Mars?

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Elsevier Science B.V., Amsterdam
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Heat flow is a very important parameter for constraining the thermal evolution of a planetary body. Several procedures for calculating heat flows for Mars from geophysical or geological proxies have been used, which are valid for the time when the structures used as indicators were formed. The more common procedures are based on estimates of lithospheric strength (the effective elastic thickness of the lithosphere or the depth to the brittle–ductile transition). On the other hand, several works by Kargel and co-workers have estimated martian heat flows from scaling the present-day terrestrial heat flow to Mars, but the so-obtained values are much higher than those deduced from lithospheric strength. In order to explain the discrepancy, a recent paper by Rodriguez et al. (Rodriguez, J.A.P., Kargel, J.S., Tanaka, K.L., Crown, D.A., Berman, D.C., Fairén, A.G., Baker, V.R., Furfaro, R., Candelaria, P., Sasaki, S. [2011]. Icarus 213, 150–194) criticized the heat flow calculations for ancient Mars presented by Ruiz et al. (Ruiz, J., Williams, J.-P., Dohm, J.M., Fernández, C., López, V. [2009]. Icarus 207, 631–637) and other studies calculating ancient martian heat flows from lithospheric strength estimates, and casted doubts on the validity of the results obtained by these works. Here however we demonstrate that the discrepancy is due to computational and conceptual errors made by Kargel and co-workers, and we conclude that the scaling from terrestrial heat flow values is not a valid procedure for estimating reliable heat flows for Mars
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