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Detection of reduced carbon in a basalt analogue for martian nakhlite: a signpost to habitat on Mars

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  25 October 2013

John Parnell*
Affiliation:
School of Geosciences, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen AB24 3UE, UK
Sean McMahon
Affiliation:
School of Geosciences, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen AB24 3UE, UK
Nigel J.F. Blamey
Affiliation:
Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, New Mexico Tech, Socorro NM87801, USA
Ian B. Hutchinson
Affiliation:
Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Leicester, UK
Liam V. Harris
Affiliation:
Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Leicester, UK
Richard Ingley
Affiliation:
Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Leicester, UK
Howell G.M. Edwards
Affiliation:
Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Leicester, UK
Edward Lynch
Affiliation:
Earth and Ocean Sciences, National University of Ireland, Galway, Republic of Ireland
Martin Feely
Affiliation:
Earth and Ocean Sciences, National University of Ireland, Galway, Republic of Ireland

Abstract

The Nakhla meteorite represents basaltic rock from the martian upper crust, with reduced carbon indicative of the ingress of carbonaceous fluids. Study of a terrestrial analogue basalt with reduced carbon from the Ordovician of Northern Ireland shows that remote analysis could detect the carbon using Raman spectroscopy. Analysis of gases released by crushing detects methane-rich fluids in the basalt and especially in cross-cutting carbon-bearing veinlets. The results suggest that automated analysis on Mars could detect the reduced carbon, which may be derived from magmatic and/or meteoritic infall sources.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2013 

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Detection of reduced carbon in a basalt analogue for martian nakhlite: a signpost to habitat on Mars
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