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 New research calculates capacity of North American forests to sequester carbon
16.07.2018 | University of California - Santa Cruz

nachricht Scientists discover Earth's youngest banded iron formation in western China
12.07.2018 | University of Alberta

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

Im Focus: Chemical reactions in the light of ultrashort X-ray pulses from free-electron lasers

Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.

Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Subaru Telescope helps pinpoint origin of ultra-high energy neutrino

16.07.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Barium ruthenate: A high-yield, easy-to-handle perovskite catalyst for the oxidation of sulfides

16.07.2018 | Life Sciences

New research calculates capacity of North American forests to sequester carbon

16.07.2018 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>