Comments on “Using the viscoelastic relaxation of large impact craters to study the thermal history of Mars” (Karimi et al., 2016, Icarus 272, 102–113) and “Studying lower crustal flow beneath mead basin: Implications for the thermal history and rheology of Venus” (Karimi and Dombard, 2017, Icarus 282, 34–39)

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Jiménez Díaz, Alberto
Parro, Laura M.
Egea González, Isabel
Mansilla, Federico
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Two recent papers, by Karimi et al. (2016, Icarus 272, 102–113) and Karimi and Dombard (2017, Icarus 282, 34–39), tried to deduce paleo-heat flows for, respectively, Mars and Venus from modeling the viscoelastic relaxation of large impact craters. Indeed, crater relaxation would be consequence of the flow of the lower crust and uppermost mantle. This flow is dependent on temperature, permitting the link with the calculation of thermal profiles and heat flows. Both papers used conductive thermal profiles and constant thermal conductivities for both the crust and upper mantle (equivalent to using linear thermal gradients given there were no mention to crustal or mantle heat sources), and appropriate rheological laws. In the present discussion, we show that the background heat flows contemporaneous to impact craters formation and relaxation obtained by Karimi and co-workers, when used along with the assumptions made by these authors, lead to temperatures that produce massive (even total) lower crust melting in all and at least a substantial part of the cases for, respectively, Venus and Mars. It is clear that the heat flow results presented by Karimi and co-workers suffer of inconsistency between model requirements explicitly indicated (a crust free of melting) and the implications of the obtained basal heat flows (a lowermost crust partially or totally molten). Thus, we consider that the papers by Karimi and co-workers do not give reliable information on the thermal history of Mars and Venus.
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