The discovery of jarcite deep in an ice core in Antarctica could explain the mineral’s formation on Mars It solves a mystery to science since until now the chemical processes that shaped it were unknown. Although it is a very rare mineral on Earth, the Red Planet has large amounts.
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Mars’ magic is nothing new to the scientific community as it has spurred many studies looking for similarities between Mars and Earth. In search of the minerals that prove the Antarctic ice ages, Giovanni Bacolo geologist from the University of Milan-Bicocca Giovanni Bacolo has linked the most remote regions of Earth to Mars to put forward a hypothesis that could explain part of the geological makeup of Mars. Fourth planet of the solar system.
There are many jarrosite deposits on the surface of Mars, but there are no conditions for its formation. Or, at least, that’s what scientists have thought so far.
The news became known recently after his participation in the specialized publication Nature connections. The report explains that jarrosite is a sharp yellow to brown material that was formed in the same way on our planet and on Mars: from dust trapped in very ancient deposits of ice.
What is the significance of this discovery?
On Earth, jerosite can be created from dust trapped in ancient ice deposits in glaciers. In fact, it is believed that there may have been five different ice ages on Mars.
Scientists found it in Mars In 2004, when Rover opportunity It passed over layers of fine dust. Since jarrosite needs water to form it, water has appeared on the planet. The crystals showed signs of chemical weathering suited to this environment, so scientists believe they formed similarly on both Earth and Mars.
Jaroset is found in abundance on the surface of Mars It is often ground and mixed with basalt, while the Antarctic sample is more pure and crystalline.
Some believe it could be due to the evaporation of minute amounts of acidic and salty water. However, University of Milan Bicocca geologist Giovanni Bacolo, the lead author of the study, stated that the alkaline basalt rocks in the crust of Mars were to neutralize acidic moisture, ruling out this hypothesis.
Researchers believe that deep Antarctic ice, far from the atmosphere, could reconfigure the red planet’s icy conditions.
The geologist at the University of Milan-Bicocca has been researching Antarctica for minerals that could indicate Ice Age cycles between layers of an ice core 1620 meters high. Long with hundreds of thousands of years of history. It was then, in his deepest digging, that Bakollo became interested in rare particles that turned out to be jarrosite.
To confirm this, they and their team measured how they absorbed x-rays and also examined the grains with large electron microscopes. There they checked for cracking of particles, without sharp edges, which confirmed that jarrosite had formed and eroded by chemical attacks in bags inside the ice.
Based on the results, what will be the next investigations?
The Italian scientist is now seeking to use Antarctic cores to verify whether ancient Martian ice deposits were a fertile ground for the formation of other minerals, as Jaroset could indicate that glaciers may have contributed to the chemical makeup of Mars. “This is only the first step in connecting deep Antarctic ice to the Martian environment,” he concluded.