Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Rare meteorites reveal Mars collision caused water flow

Date:
February 6, 2011
Source:
University of Leicester
Summary:
Exactly a century after the first discovery of a rare meteorite sample, a research team has used it to reveal new insights into water on the red planet. Rare fragments of Martian meteorites have been investigated, revealing one of the ways water flowed near the surface of Mars.

Image showing a vein through which water has flowed.
Credit: University of Leicester

Exactly a century after the first discovery of a rare meteorite sample, University of Leicester team uses it to reveal new insights into water on the red planet

Rare fragments of Martian meteorites have been investigated at the University of Leicester revealing one of the ways water flowed near the surface of Mars.

Scientists at the University's Space Research Centre, in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, examined five meteorite samples -- including the very first nakhlite, found a century ago.

Nakhlites are a form of meteorite known to have originated on Mars. They are named after the village of El-Nakhla in Egypt where the first one was found in 1911.

Findings from the research have been published in Meteoritics and Planetary Science. The research was funded by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC).

Hitesh Changela and Dr John Bridges used electron microscopes in the University's Advanced Microscopy Centre to study the structure and composition of five nakhlites, including the 1911 specimen, which is housed in the collections of the Natural History Museum, London. Minute wafers of rock, about 0.1 microns thick, were milled off the meteorites as part of the research.

By comparing the five meteorites, they showed the presence of veins created during an impact on Mars. They suggest that this impact was associated with a 1-10 km diameter crater. Buried ice melted during this impact depositing clay, serpentine, carbonate and a gel deposit in the veins.

This work closely ties in to recent geological discoveries of clay and carbonate on the surface of Mars made by NASA and ESA probes, and shows how some of it probably formed. Serpentine mineralisation is associated with the production of methane. It is the purpose of the 2016 Trace Gas Orbiter mission to search for and understand the origin of any methane in the Mars atmosphere as it can be a biomarker. This work shows one of the ways that methane was probably produced.

Dr Bridges, who is supervising Hitesh's PhD, said, "We are now starting to build a realistic model for how water deposited minerals formed on Mars, showing that impact heating was an important process. The constraints we are establishing about temperature, pH and duration of the hydrothermal action help us to better understand the evolution of the Mars surface. This directly ties in with the current activities of landing site selection for Mars rovers and Mars Sample Return. With models like this we will better understand the areas where we think that water was once present on Mars.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Leicester. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. H. G. Changela, J. C. Bridges. Alteration assemblages in the nakhlites: Variation with depth on Mars. Meteoritics & Planetary Science, 2010; 45 (12): 1847 DOI: 10.1111/j.1945-5100.2010.01123.x

Cite This Page:

University of Leicester. "Rare meteorites reveal Mars collision caused water flow." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 February 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110202072212.htm>.
University of Leicester. (2011, February 6). Rare meteorites reveal Mars collision caused water flow. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110202072212.htm
University of Leicester. "Rare meteorites reveal Mars collision caused water flow." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110202072212.htm (accessed September 1, 2014).

Share This




More Space & Time News

Monday, September 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Space Shuttle Discovery's Legacy, 30 Years Later

Space Shuttle Discovery's Legacy, 30 Years Later

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) The space shuttle Discovery launched for the very first time 30 years ago. Here's a look back at its legacy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Experiment Tests Whether Universe Is Actually A Hologram

Experiment Tests Whether Universe Is Actually A Hologram

Newsy (Aug. 27, 2014) Researchers at Fermilab are using a device called "The Holometer" to test whether our universe is actually a 2-D hologram that just seems 3-D. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 Rocket Explodes After Liftoff

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 Rocket Explodes After Liftoff

Newsy (Aug. 23, 2014) The private spaceflight company says it is preparing a thorough investigation into Friday's mishap. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Did Russia Really Find Plankton On The ISS? NASA Not So Sure

Did Russia Really Find Plankton On The ISS? NASA Not So Sure

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) Russian cosmonauts say they've found evidence of sea plankton on the International Space Station's windows. NASA is a little more skeptical. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins