Sunday, August 1, 2021

The hydrohermatite suggests the existence of a substantial water reservoir on Mars

1:27 AM | ,

The combination of a water-bearing iron ore described in the 19th century and the fact that they are common rocks on Earth suggests the existence of a substantial water reservoir on Mars.

 In 1844, Rudolf Hermann named this mineral turgite and in 1847 August Breithaupt named it hydrohematite. According to the author of the new study, Professor of Geosciences at Penn State University Peter J. Heaney, in 1920, other mineralogists, using the recently developed X-ray diffraction technique, declared that these two articles were incorrect. But the nascent technique was too primitive to see the difference between hematite and hydrohematite.

  Heaney and his PhD student Athena Chen obtained a small piece of the original Breithaupt sample, a sample labeled Turgite from the Smithsonian Institution, and surprisingly five samples that were in Penn State's own Frederick Augustus Genth collection.

 After multiple examinations using a variety of instruments, including infrared spectroscopy and synchrotron X-ray diffraction, a more sensitive and refined method than that used in the mid-19th century, Chen demonstrated that these minerals were actually light in iron and had hydroxyl. , a hydrogen and oxygen group: replaced by some of the iron atoms. The hydroxyl in the mineral is stored water.

 Researchers recently proposed in the journal Geology "that hydrohematite is common in low-temperature iron oxide cases on Earth and, by extension, can inventory large amounts of water in seemingly arid planetary environments, such as the surface of Mars."

She found that at temperatures below 150 degrees Celsius, in an aqueous and alkaline environment, hydrohematite can precipitate and form sedimentary layers.

 The "blueberries" found in 2004 by NASA's Opportunity rover are hematites. Although the latest Mars rovers have X-ray diffraction devices to identify hematite, they are not sophisticated enough to differentiate between hematite and hydrohematite.

"On Earth, these spherical structures are hydrohematites, so it seems reasonable to me to speculate that the bright red stones on Mars are hydrohematites," Heaney said.

The researchers note that anhydrous hematite, which lacks water, and hydrohematite, which contains water, are two different colors, with hydrohematite being redder or streaked dark red.

Chen's experiments found that natural hydrohematite contained between 3.6% and 7.8% by weight of water and that goethite contained approximately 10% by weight of water. Depending on the amount of hydrated iron minerals found on Mars, the researchers believe that there could be a substantial water reservoir there.

Mars is called the red planet because of its color, which comes from the iron compounds of the Martian land. According to the researchers, the presence of hydrohematite on Mars would provide additional evidence that Mars was once an aquatic planet, and water is the only compound necessary for all forms of life on Earth.

Hydrohematite Specimen Discovered By German Mineralogist August Breithaupt In 1843 With Original Label From It. - ANDREAS MASSANEK, TU BERGAKADEMIE, (EUROPA PRESS) - 

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