New group paper: Liquid water on Mars less than 227 million years ago

Dr Martin Guitreau, who was based in the SEES Isotope group, has prepared this blog post about his new research paper.

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Two researchers from the University of Manchester (UK), Université Clermont Auvergne (France), Université de Lorraine (France), and CNRS (France) found traces of recent low-temperature aqueous alteration in the Black Beauty meteorite (sample name NWA 7533).

800px-MarsMeteorite-NWA7034-716969main_black_beauty_full

Black beauty martian meteorite. Image: Wikipedia.

This alteration, recorded in the mineral zircon, occured on Mars 227 to 56 million years ago, during the Amazonian era. This discovery, published in the journal Nature Communications , has  important implications for the evolution of the martian surface because it shows that liquid water was available near the surface in a recent past, which could still be the case in the present day. These results, therefore, suggest that Mars might have been habitable throughout most of its history since liquid water is the first ingredient required for the emergence of life.

Article reference: Guitreau M., and Flahaut J. (2019) Record of low-temperature aqueous alteration of Martian zircon during the late Amazonian. M. Guitreau, J. Flahaut. Nature Communications 10, article number 2457. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-10382-y

 

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About Katherine Joy

Hello! I am Katherine Joy. I am part of the University of Manchester Isotope Geochemistry and Cosmochemistry group. More details about my research interests can be found at http://www.seaes.manchester.ac.uk/people/staff/profile/?ea=katherine.joy
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