Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

The greatest place to be a Martian: Australia?

Date:
May 31, 2013
Source:
Taylor & Francis
Summary:
Would Martians feel at home in Australia? Recent research has proven that if Martians took a holiday to Australia they might feel more at home than you’d think. Researchers have recently exposed a unique set of attributes suggesting that the Australian red center could be a close analogue for the surface of the red planet – and how this unusual weathering has led to the formation of Australia’s opals.

Would Martians feel at home in Australia? Recent research has proven that if Martians took a holiday to Australia they might feel more at home than you'd think. Associate Professor Patrice F. Rey (University of Sydney) has recently exposed a unique set of attributes suggesting that the Australian red centre could be a close analogue for the surface of the red planet -- and how this unusual weathering has led to the formation of Australia's opals.

Precious opal, Australia's national gemstone, has been mined from the red dirt of central Australia for over a century. Its formation at shallow depths, and why it can be found in central Australia -- yet hardly anywhere else on Earth -- has remained a mystery. In this recent paper published in the Australian Journal of Earth Sciences, Associate Professor Patrice Rey, from the University's School of Geosciences, explains that the formation of Australian opal was due to an extraordinary episode of acidic weathering during the drying out of the central Australian landscape that followed the regression of the Eromanga Sea 100 years ago.

On Earth, regional acidic weathering is rare. Interestingly, acidic oxidative weathering has been documented at the surface of Mars, which shares an intriguing set of attributes with the Great Artesian Basin. These attributes include similar sandstones, a long episode of drying out leading to the formation of clay and opaline silica, and last but not least the same surface colour. This latest research suggests that the Australian red centre could well be the best regional terrestrial analogue for the surface of the red planet. Could it be that Australia may be home to Martians in the not too distant future?


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Taylor & Francis. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. P. F. Rey. Opalisation of the Great Artesian Basin (central Australia): an Australian story with a Martian twist. Australian Journal of Earth Sciences, 2013; 60 (3): 291 DOI: 10.1080/08120099.2013.784219

Cite This Page:

Taylor & Francis. "The greatest place to be a Martian: Australia?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 May 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130531105229.htm>.
Taylor & Francis. (2013, May 31). The greatest place to be a Martian: Australia?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 3, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130531105229.htm
Taylor & Francis. "The greatest place to be a Martian: Australia?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130531105229.htm (accessed September 3, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Thousands of Fish Dead in Mexico Lake

Raw: Thousands of Fish Dead in Mexico Lake

AP (Sep. 2, 2014) — Over 53 tons of rotting fish have been removed from Lake Cajititlan in western Jalisco state. Authorities say that the thousands of fish did not die of natural causes. (Sep. 2) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Iceland Volcano Spewing Smoke

Raw: Iceland Volcano Spewing Smoke

AP (Sep. 2, 2014) — The alert warning for the area surrounding Iceland's Bardarbunga volcano was kept at orange on Tuesday, indicating increased unrest with greater potential for an eruption. Smoke is spewing from the volcano, and lava is spouting nearby. (Sept. 2) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.N. Says Ebola Travel Restrictions Will Cause Food Shortage

U.N. Says Ebola Travel Restrictions Will Cause Food Shortage

Newsy (Sep. 2, 2014) — The U.N. says the problem is two-fold — quarantine zones and travel restrictions are limiting the movement of both people and food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Halliburton Reaches $1B Gulf Spill Settlement

Halliburton Reaches $1B Gulf Spill Settlement

AP (Sep. 2, 2014) — Halliburton's agreement to pay more than $1 billion to settle numerous claims involving the 2010 BP oil spill could be a way to diminish years of costly litigation. A federal judge still has to approve the settlement. (Sept. 2) Video provided by AP
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