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This Antarctic find sheds light on Mars

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Jillian Castillo
Jillian Castillo
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Researchers have found a common Martian mineral in the Antarctic ice. This discovery could tell us how this mineral formed on the Red Planet and indicate that glaciers played an important role there.

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The Jaroset It Ocean The mineral consisting of sulfate moist from Act Based on Potassium. this is Mineral Yellow and brown are common on Mars, but the process that led to their formation on this planet has been uncertain.

This mineral is now also found in Antarctica. Not Not the first discovery of Jaroset on Earth But what’s interesting here is that this mineral could have formed the same way on the Red Planet as in the Antarctic regions of the Blue Planet: from the dust trapped inAncient ice deposits.

Jaroset El Mars: Nearly Two Decades of History

Jaroset was first observed on Mars in 2004When the rover Chance It is rolled on fine-grained layers of this mineral. The discovery was remarkable because jarrosite needed water to form it, as well as iron, sulfate, potassium, and conditions. Acids.

Difficult to reunite These conditions are on Mars. Scientists have proposed several scenarios to try to explain how this mineral could become so abundant. For some, it may be uploaded bySmall amounts of water evaporate Salty and sour. However, Giovanni Bacolo, Geologist At the University of Milan Bicocca and first author of a new study published in Nature CommunicationsExplain that The alkaline basalt rocks of the Martian crust It would neutralize this acidic moisture.

Other researchers have floated the idea that Jaroset was born into Huge ice deposits That would have covered the planet billions of years ago. as such Ice peaks Dust may accumulate in the ice and may turn into garrosite in pockets of mud between the ice crystals. This process, however, was not observed in Solar system.

Jaroset Antarctica, the key to the mystery of its Martian counterpart?

On Earth, Jaroset can be found in Piles of mining waste Exposed toAir And rain, although this is not common. Nobody expected to find them in Antarctica, and besides, Bacolo was not looking for anyone. What he was looking for Minerals Than it may indicate Cycles from ice Age In layers Iced carrots 1620 meters, which Preserved thousands of years of Earth’s history. However, in The deepest ice in the carrotHe came across strange dust particles, he said could be Jaroset.

To confirm the identity of the mineral, Bakollo and colleagues measured how well it was absorbed X ray. They also examined the pills under strong influence Electron microscopesConfirming that it was Jaroset. The particles were also visibly fractured and devoid of sharp edges, a sign that they had formed and eroded as a result of chemical attacks in pockets in the ice.

The study indicates that jarusite is similarly formed on Mars. However, Megan Ellwood Madden, a geochemist at the University of Oklahoma who was not involved in the study, wonders whether the process might explain the abundance of jarrosite on the red planet: On Mars, it’s not just a thin layer. These are deposits several meters thick. ».

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Bakollo admits that the ice core contains only small amounts of jarrosite, which are particles smaller than an eyelash or pill Sable. However, he specifies that there is more dust on Mars than on Antarctica, which under the right conditions might encourage more jarocite to form.

Baccolo wants to use it Antarctica Islands To determine whether ancient Martian ice deposits may have formed others Minerals. According to him, Jaroset is showing it Glaciers Just don’t have Landscapes Carved On Mars, But they were also able to play around with the planet’s chemical makeup.

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