A geochemical model for the formation of hydrothermal carbonates on Mars

L. L. Griffith, Everett Shock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

49 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

IT is often argued1-3 that substantially more carbon dioxide and water were degassed from the martian interior than can be found at present in the atmosphere, polar caps and regolith. Calculation have shown that atmospheric escape cannot account for all of the missing volatiles4. Suggestions that carbon dioxide is stored as marine or lacustrine deposits5, are challenged by Earth-based and spacecraft remote-sensing data6,7. Moreover, recent modelling of the martian atmosphere suggests that rainfall or open bodies of water are in any case unlikely to have persisted for extended periods of time8,9. Hydrothermal carbonates therefore provide a possible solution to this dilemma. Using an accessible terrestrial system (Iceland) as a guide to the underlying processes, and a host rock composition inferred from the least-altered martian meteorite10, we present a geochemical model for the formation of carbonates in possible martian hydrothermal systems. Our results suggest that an extensive reservoir of carbonate minerals - equivalent to an atmospheric pressure of carbon dioxide of at least one bar - could have been sequestered beneath the surface by widespread hydrothermal activity in the martian past.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)406-408
Number of pages3
JournalNature
Volume377
Issue number6548
StatePublished - Oct 5 1995
Externally publishedYes

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Mars
Carbonates
Carbon Dioxide
Atmosphere
Spacecraft
Iceland
Atmospheric Pressure
Body Water
Minerals
Water

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

Cite this

A geochemical model for the formation of hydrothermal carbonates on Mars. / Griffith, L. L.; Shock, Everett.

In: Nature, Vol. 377, No. 6548, 05.10.1995, p. 406-408.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Griffith, L. L. ; Shock, Everett. / A geochemical model for the formation of hydrothermal carbonates on Mars. In: Nature. 1995 ; Vol. 377, No. 6548. pp. 406-408.
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