Terrestrial analogues are often investigated to get insights into the geological processes occurring on other planetary bodies. Due to its thickness and petrological similarities, the pyroxenitic layer of the 120m-thick magmatic pile Theo’s Flow (Archean Abitibi greenstone belt Ontario, Canada), has always been regarded as the terrestrial analogue for Martian nakhlites. However, its origin and cooling history and, as a consequence those of nakhlites, have always been a matter of vigorous debate. Did this lava flow originate from a single magmatic event similar to those supposed to occur on Mars or do the different units derive from multiple eruptions? We demonstrate, by a combination of geothermometric constraints on augite single crystals and numerical simulations, that Theo’s Flow has been formed by multiple magma emplacements that occurred at different times. This discovery supports the idea that the enormous lava flows with similar compositions observed on Mars could be the result of a process where low viscosity lavas are emplaced during multiple eruptions. This has profound implications for understanding the multiscale mechanisms of lava flow emplacement on Earth and other planetary bodies.
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