Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Paleolake deposits on Mars might look like sediments in Indonesia

07.03.2017

New GSA Bulletin article published online

In their GSA Bulletin article published online last week, Timothy A. Goudge and colleagues detail the clay mineralogy of sediment from Lake Towuti, Indonesia, using a technique called visible to near-infrared (VNIR) spectroscopy. VNIR measures the signature of reflected light from a sample across a larger wavelength range than just visible light. At Lake Towuti, the spectral record shows distinct variations in clay mineralogy over the past 40,000 years.


Figure 1. Lake Towuti, Indonesia. (A) Regional context for Lake Towuti on the island of Sulawesi in Indonesia. Red box indicates approximate location of part B. Background is the Ocean base map from ESRI et al. (2015). (B) Generalized geologic map of Lake Towuti and the surrounding area showing the dominance of ultramafic material. Map is modified from Costa et al. (2015). (C) Bathymetry of Lake Towuti showing the location of the two analyzed sediment cores at the distal margins of the Mahalona River delta (white dots labeled 4 for TOW4 and 5 for TOW5). River inputs are shown in thin blue lines, with the Mahalona River shown as a thick blue line.

Credit: Goudge et al. and GSA Bulletin

The record also captures the response of the lake system to changing climate, including changes in lake levels, forced delta progradation, and river incision. According to Goudge and colleagues, this demonstrates the utility of VNIR spectroscopy in developing paleoenvironmental records over tens of thousands of years.

Interestingly, Goudge and colleagues also suggest that paleolake deposits on Mars should preserve similar paleoenvironmental information that could be accessed through remote sensing studies of stratigraphy and VNIR reflectance spectroscopy.

Lead author Tim Goudge says, "The major link between this study of lake sediment in Indonesia and lake deposits on Mars is in terms of the methods we used. We can differentiate material properties with color (e.g., rust is red because of the iron in it), so VNIR spectroscopy allows us to determine what minerals are within a sample of lake sediment."

While this technique is relatively new for applying to lake deposits on Earth, it can be run remotely simply using reflected sunlight. Thus it is commonly employed to study the mineralogy and composition of the surface of other planetary bodies, including Mars.

Goudge says, "Our study shows that one can use VNIR spectroscopy to understand the evolution of past climate that is recorded by lake sediment. Therefore, we propose that applying a similar approach to studying ancient lake deposits on Mars at high resolution will help to unravel the history of ancient martian climate."

Lake Towuti is also contained within an ophiolite, which is composed of very iron- and magnesium-rich (mafic) rocks, and so is more comparable to the mafic surface of Mars than much of Earth's land surface, which is commonly more felsic (richer in silicon, aluminum, sodium, etc.). The compositional link is not perfect, however, so Goudge and colleagues more heavily emphasize the applicability of the technique.

###

FEATURED ARTICLE

A 40,000 yr record of clay mineralogy at Lake Towuti, Indonesia: Paleoclimate reconstruction from reflectance spectroscopy and perspectives on paleolakes on Mars Timothy A. Goudge, Post-doc Research Fellow, Jackson School of Geosciences, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas 78712-1722, USA; James M. Russell, John F. Mustard, James W. Head and Satria Bijaksana.

GSA BULLETIN articles published ahead of print are online at http://gsabulletin.gsapubs.org/content/early/recent. Representatives of the media may obtain complimentary copies of articles by contacting Kea Giles. Sign up for pre-issue publication e-alerts at http://www.gsapubs.org/cgi/alerts for first access to new content.

http://www.geosociety.org

Kea Giles | EurekAlert!

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Tiny microenvironments in the ocean hold clues to global nitrogen cycle
23.04.2018 | University of Rochester

nachricht Clear as mud: Desiccation cracks help reveal the shape of water on Mars
20.04.2018 | Geological Society of America

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Molecules Brilliantly Illuminated

Physicists at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics, which is jointly run by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, have developed a high-power laser system that generates ultrashort pulses of light covering a large share of the mid-infrared spectrum. The researchers envisage a wide range of applications for the technology – in the early diagnosis of cancer, for instance.

Molecules are the building blocks of life. Like all other organisms, we are made of them. They control our biorhythm, and they can also reflect our state of...

Im Focus: Spider silk key to new bone-fixing composite

University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.

Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.

Im Focus: Writing and deleting magnets with lasers

Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...

Im Focus: Gamma-ray flashes from plasma filaments

Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.

The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...

Im Focus: Basel researchers succeed in cultivating cartilage from stem cells

Stable joint cartilage can be produced from adult stem cells originating from bone marrow. This is made possible by inducing specific molecular processes occurring during embryonic cartilage formation, as researchers from the University and University Hospital of Basel report in the scientific journal PNAS.

Certain mesenchymal stem/stromal cells from the bone marrow of adults are considered extremely promising for skeletal tissue regeneration. These adult stem...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

IWOLIA: A conference bringing together German Industrie 4.0 and French Industrie du Futur

09.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Structured light and nanomaterials open new ways to tailor light at the nanoscale

23.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

On the shape of the 'petal' for the dissipation curve

23.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Clean and Efficient – Fraunhofer ISE Presents Hydrogen Technologies at the HANNOVER MESSE 2018

23.04.2018 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>