Skip to comments.Clay Deposits Don't Prove Existence of Ancient Martian Lakes
Posted on 09/17/2012 3:05:37 PM PDT by SunkenCiv
In the hunt for evidence of a warmer, wetter past on Mars, clay deposits have been viewed as good indications that stable liquid water existed on its surface for some time -- perhaps even long enough to allow life to develop. But new research conducted here on Earth shows that some clays don't necessarily need lakes of liquid water to form. Instead they can be the result of volcanic activity, which is not nearly so hospitable to life.
A research team led by Alain Meunier of the Université de Poitiers in France studied lavas containing iron and magnesium -- similar to ancient clays identified on the surface of Mars -- in the French Polynesian atoll of Moruroa. The team's findings show that the same types of clay outcrops can be caused by the solidifying of water-rich magma in a volcanic environment, and don't require Earthlike aquatic conditions at all.
The results also correlate to the deuterium-to-hydrogen (D/H) ratio within clays found in Martian meteorites.
"To crystallize, clays need water but not necessarily liquid water," said Alain Meunier to the Agençe France-Presse (AFP). "Consequently, they cannot be used to prove that the planet was habitable or not during its early history."
Additionally, the clay deposits found on Mars can be several hundred meters thick, which seems to be more indicative of upwelling magma than interactions with water.
(Excerpt) Read more at universetoday.com ...
HiRISE image of branching features in the floor of Antoniadi Crater thought to contain clay material. (NASA/JPL/University of Arizona)
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I don’t know. It kind of looks like that satellite photo the neighbor showed me of our block back when everyone had young kids and there was a trampoline in every back yard.
My son discovered obvious evidence of glaciers that existed in the Northern regions of Mars. They may have disappeared only a few million years ago. He said that it was evidence that Mars has warmer, wetter periods when there is liquid water on the surface.
BTW, he did this at least a year before papers were published using the same data.
He was taking an undergrad course in remote sensing for geology. He found all the evidence using satellite photos.
Now, only a few years later, he’s making more money than his old man. In oil exploration, of course.
My offer is still open. I bet all takers $100 each that we find life, at least microbes, on Mars.
It’s a good bet to make, IMHO.
The people on Jupiter told me that everyone on Mars moved away a long time ago.
Obviously, the Martian water was already stolen by Los Angeles.
When is the payoff date if no life is found? I would bet you that we don’t find life within five years on Mars.
It has been theorized that both Earth and Venus were subjected to numerous impacts by large bodies, which increased their size and mass considerably, but Mars avoided the big collisions.
Perhaps the largest, or the last, collision to hit Earth is estimated to be about the size of Mars. Venus is about 95% the size of Earth, Mars only about 50%
We need a sample return mission to be sure.
AFAIK, no such mission is planned.
By the time the other side has to pay me $100 when we find life, that amount will probably not be enough to buy a cup of coffee.
I will be amazed if we do not find microbes.
Remember the Allen Hills meteorite? I met with the scientists who wrote the paper on the nano-fossils. They had pretty strong proof. We found almost identical nano-bacteria two miles deep in basalt on Earth.
Dr. Arthur C. Clarke has pointed out that we see objects in photos from Mars that look like seashells, root systems, and seeds. He says we already have proof of past life.
Quibble, Mars is only 1/9th Earth’s mass. While Mars has been continously refaced, and has even had at least a couple (because the impact craters remain visible) of impactors so large that, if there had been an ecosystem, it would have been wiped out.
Re: a Mars-sized impactor on the Earth—
whoops, I got distracted and didn’t finish that sentence — Mars has been continuously refaced, but hasn’t picked up much mass in the process.
I suspect that its lack of a magnetic field answers the question. It probably had lots of large impacts from comet bodies, that created a lot of atmospheric water that was relatively quickly whisked away by the solar wind.
For whatever reason, Earth probably got one or more big rocky iron bodies that contributed substantial mass.
So, you won’t take the five year bet? 3 ounces of silver?
The planetary bodies in the Solar System fall into three groups — the gas giants, which have a density near that of water; the rocky planets, which have about, hmm, 4 times the density I think, and are all similar, but if memory serves, from densest down are Mercury, Earth, Venus, Mars; the third group consists of Pluto, about which not enough is known (yet), and of course, there was the infamous “Pluto’s Not A Planet” vote by a bunch of anti-American foreigner astronomers who suck. Oh, sorry.
Jupiter’s known composition shows that it didn’t form where it is now, and must have migrated inward, or absorbed a substantial amount of its mass from infalling debris from the outer Solar System, and oddly enough, there’s no consensus on this because no one can quite believe any of the three possibilities (the third is not aforementioned, but is that Solar System formation isn’t understood at all).
Mars’ water (however much is there) is frozen. Given the planet’s mass — and it is heavier now that it was in the past, thanks to space crap raining down over the eons — as well as surface measuremants, the atmospheric pressure on Mars is the same as pressure at 40 miles altitude over the Earth. The statutory boundary of space is 50 miles above Earth. When impacts occur, water ice in the soil can form a short-lived local atmosphere of water vapor, which allows liquid water to exist until the vapor freezes again.
This is consistent with observation of surface features — it appears that large amounts of water start flowing, as if from nowhere, leave large erosional features, then the water just flows back out into nowhere. Eventually I’ll get credit from the scientific community for this idea, I’ve not been shy about posting it on the web. :’)
The Viking Orbiter Infrared Thermal Mapper showed a peak temperature of 81F. Together with a mean surface pressure of about 600 pascals, much lower than the Earth’s 101,000 Pa.
According to NASA, the solar wind stripped away much of the Martian atmosphere, and I imagine much of its water as well.
The point is, Mars didn’t have much if any in the first place.
How am I going to obtain conclusive proof in 5 years?
I need a soil sample and bugs grown in the lab.
This is a serious bet.