Rocks on Mars may provide link to evidence of living organisms 4 billion years ago

Jul 29, 2010
Mars. Image: NASA

A new article in press of the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters unveils groundbreaking research on the hydrothermal formation of Clay-Carbonate rocks in the Nili Fossae region of Mars. The findings may provide a link to evidence of living organisms on Mars, roughly 4 billion years ago in the Noachian period.

The paper "Hydrothermal formation of Clay-Carbonate alteration assemblages in the Nili Fossae region of Mars", by Adrian J. Brown et al, suggests that carbonate bearing rocks found in the Nili Fossae region of Mars are made up of hydrothermally altered ultramafic (perhaps komatiitic) rocks.

It also shows that the carbonates at Nili Fossae are not pure Mg-carbonate. Moreover, the study explains that talc is present in close proximity to the carbonate locations - rather than previously suggested saponite - and talc-carbonate alteration of high-Mg precursor rocks has taken place.

Adrian Brown, corresponding author, explains: "We suggest that the associated hydrothermal activity would have provided sufficient energy for on early Mars at Nili Fossae. Furthermore, in the article we discuss the potential of the Archean volcanics of the East Pilbara region of Western Australia as an analog for the Nochian Nili Fossae on Mars. They indicate that or evidence of , if produced at Nili, could have been preserved, as they have been in the North Pole Dome region of the Pilbara craton."

" is delighted to be publishing this exciting new scientific finding, which marks a significant finding in the Nili Fossae region of Mars, highlighting similarities between traces of life on early Earth and early Mars, and suggests a landing site for an exobiology mission to ", remarked Tilman Spohn, Editor, Earth and Planetary Sciences."

Explore further: SDO captures images of two mid-level flares

More information: The article title is "Hydrothermal formation of Clay-Carbonate alteration assemblages in the Nili Fossae region of Mars" (doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2010.06.018) by Adrian J. Brown et al.

Related Stories

Rocky Mesas of Nilosyrtis Mensae, Mars

May 06, 2008

Mesas in the Nilosyrtis Mensae region of Mars appear in enhanced color in this image from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO).

Study reveals ancient rocks linked to old Earth's crust

Feb 24, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- A new geological study which took place in the Pilbara region of Western Australia brings us one step closer to understanding more precisely the timing of when the primordial earth crust was ...

The Mars Journal Publishes Its First Papers

Dec 15, 2005

The Mars Journal, a new peer-reviewed online open-access scholarly journal, has published its first two papers. The first paper is a 4-page editorial entitled "The Mars Journal" by David A. Paige of the Dept. of Earth and ...

Recommended for you

SDO captures images of two mid-level flares

Dec 19, 2014

The sun emitted a mid-level flare on Dec. 18, 2014, at 4:58 p.m. EST. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, which watches the sun constantly, captured an image of the event. Solar flares are powerful bursts ...

Why is Venus so horrible?

Dec 19, 2014

Venus sucks. Seriously, it's the worst. The global temperature is as hot as an oven, the atmospheric pressure is 90 times Earth, and it rains sulfuric acid. Every part of the surface of Venus would kill you ...

Image: Christmas wrapping the Sentinel-3A antenna

Dec 19, 2014

The moment a team of technicians, gowned like hospital surgeons, wraps the Sentinel-3A radar altimeter in multilayer insulation to protect it from the temperature extremes found in Earth orbit.

Video: Flying over Becquerel

Dec 19, 2014

This latest release from the camera on ESA's Mars Express is a simulated flight over the Becquerel crater, showing large-scale deposits of sedimentary material.

Spinning up a dust devil on Mars

Dec 19, 2014

Spinning up a dust devil in the thin air of Mars requires a stronger updraft than is needed to create a similar vortex on Earth, according to research at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH).

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

gabrielmurphy
Aug 02, 2010
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
ArtistFromMars
not rated yet Aug 04, 2010
Well, SOMEBODY had to build all of those beautiful pyramids on Mars!
OK, I suppose there is a slight chance that they are naturally made --- but when you consider that we have intelligently made pyramids all over planet Earth, and given the fact that scientists were unable to produce a natural pyramid in a wind tunnel with sand --- I think it is not unreasonable to suggest that the possibility/probability is fairly high that the pyramids on Mars were made by intelligent beings - around 3.5 billion years ago.
This argument can be further strengthened if you take into consideration all of the other stuff that's up there......

PEACE

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.