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Quantifying low temperature production of methane on Mars

Schwenzer, Susanne (2011). Quantifying low temperature production of methane on Mars. In: 42nd Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, 7-11 Mar 2011, Houston, TX, USA.

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Methane was first detected in the Matian atmosphere in 2003, and its implications have been widely debated. Methane can be generated in terrestrial biological systems, and so is a potential indicator for past or present life. However, methane can be produced anorganically (without intervention of life) in several sorts of terrestrial environments, some of which are relevant for Mars. On Earth, anorganic methane can be produced by redox reactions associated with high and low-temperature alteration of Fe-bearing rocks, so long as carbon is present. Methane production is common in mid-ocean ridge hydrothermal systems, and wherever serpentine is forming. In fact, the anorganic production of methane on Earth is estimated to be 50–70 Mt y-1. Methane-producing reactions, including serpentinitization, can also provide significant energy that can be utilized by living organisms. Thermochemical modeling of rock-water chemical reactions shows that, in addition to methane, molecular hydrogen and other reduced gas species can be produced. The alteration phases formed by those processes include hydrous silicates. Here, I quantify methane production and alteration minerals from three Martian rock compositions and pure olivine and compare them to the amounts released and observed in 2003.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item
Copyright Holders: 2011 The Author
Extra Information: Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Carbon on Mars: Surface to Atmosphere and Implications for Exobiology
Keywords: Mars; methane; thermochemical model; impact crater; hydrothermal
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) > Environment, Earth and Ecosystem Sciences
Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)
Research Group: Space
Related URLs:
Item ID: 27516
Depositing User: Susanne Schwenzer
Date Deposited: 16 Mar 2011 15:46
Last Modified: 07 Dec 2018 09:51
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