Allophane detection on Mars with Thermal Emission spectrometer data and implications for regional-scale chemical weathering processes

E. B. Rampe, M. D. Kraft, Thomas Sharp, D. C. Golden, D. W. Ming, Philip Christensen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

26 Scopus citations

Abstract

Models of Thermal Emission Spectrometer (TES) data suggest that poorly-crystalline weathering products allophane and aluminosilicate gel occur in several low-albedo regions of Mars. The presence of allophane in TES models indicates that the martian surface experienced low-temperature chemical weathering at low water-to-rock ratios and mildly acidic to neutral pH on regional scales. The allophane and gel may be ancient and preserved by a persistently dry martian climate. Alternatively, evidence for recent ground ice in these regions suggests that pedogenic processes causing the formation of poorly-crystalline aluminosilicates could be late Amazonian in age and may be active today. While previous models have suggested that global-scale acidic weathering has occurred on Mars for the past 3.5 billion years, the presence of allophane indicates that acidic weathering was not occurring in these lowalbedo regions and that mildly acidic to neutral weathering has been an important regionalscale weathering process on the martian surface.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)995-998
Number of pages4
JournalGeology
Volume40
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology

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