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 Colorado River's connection with the ocean was a punctuated affair
16.11.2017 | University of Oregon

nachricht Researchers create largest, longest multiphysics earthquake simulation to date
14.11.2017 | Gauss Centre for Supercomputing

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

Im Focus: Wrinkles give heat a jolt in pillared graphene

Rice University researchers test 3-D carbon nanostructures' thermal transport abilities

Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA detects solar flare pulses at Sun and Earth

17.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

NIST scientists discover how to switch liver cancer cell growth from 2-D to 3-D structures

17.11.2017 | Health and Medicine

The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change

17.11.2017 | Studies and Analyses

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>