Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Green mineral indicates red planet is dry


The presence of a common green mineral on Mars suggests that the red planet could have been cold and dry since the mineral has been exposed, which may be more than a billion years according to new research appearing in the Oct. 24 edition of Science.
Todd Hoefen, a U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) geophysicist, led a team of researchers from USGS, Arizona State University and NASA, that found abundant quantities of olivine on Mars. They based their conclusions on data obtained from a Thermal Emission Spectrometer (TES) carried by the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS).

Olivine, a transparent green-colored mineral found in many mafic rocks, is susceptible to chemical weathering and readily alters to other minerals such as iddingsite, goethite, serpentine, chlorite, smectite, maghemite and hematite in the presence of water. Except for trace amounts of hematite, which gives Mars its red color, none of these other weathering products have been found.

The team detected a 30,000 square kilometer area rich in olivine, in the Nili Fossae region of Mars. Nili Fossae has been interpreted as a complex of grabens and fractures related to the formation of the Isidis impact basin, where post-impact faulting exposed the abundant olivine. They have also found smaller deposits of olivine all over the planet, all indicating a surface dominated by volcanic processes.

The fact that so much olivine is exposed at the surface indicates that there has been little to no weathering due to water, thus no liquid water-mineral chemical reactions. The age of the surface is somewhat uncertain but is probably over 3 billion years old.

It took approximately three years for the MGS spacecraft and the TES instrument to gather the data for the analysis, and scientists another year to analyze the results. The MGS spacecraft is healthy and continues to map Mars.

Heidi Koontz | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht UCI and NASA document accelerated glacier melting in West Antarctica
26.10.2016 | University of California - Irvine

nachricht Ice shelf vibrations cause unusual waves in Antarctic atmosphere
25.10.2016 | American Geophysical Union

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Novel light sources made of 2D materials

Physicists from the University of Würzburg have designed a light source that emits photon pairs. Two-photon sources are particularly well suited for tap-proof data encryption. The experiment's key ingredients: a semiconductor crystal and some sticky tape.

So-called monolayers are at the heart of the research activities. These "super materials" (as the prestigious science magazine "Nature" puts it) have been...

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Prototype device for measuring graphene-based electromagnetic radiation created

28.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Gamma ray camera offers new view on ultra-high energy electrons in plasma

28.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

When fat cells change their colour

28.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>