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NASA scientists have found an explanation for the mysterious discovery on Mars

Curiosity self-portrait on July 30, 2015 when he discovered tridymite in Gale Crater. | Font: POT

Planetary scientists have answered a mysterious mystery on Mars since the rover curiosity belonging POT discovered a mineral called tridymite in the crater Gale in 2016.

What is tridymite?

tridymite is a high-temperature form of quartz at low pressure, extremely rare in Land, and it was not immediately clear how the concentrated portion ended up in the crater. Crater Gale was chosen as the landing site curiosity because of the possibility that there was once liquid water here, and curiosity found evidence that Gale it was a lake just a billion years ago.

“Opening tridymite in mudstone in a crater Gale is one of the most amazing observations that all-terrain vehicle curiosity made over 10 years of research MarsKirsten Siebach of Rice, co-author of a study published online at Earth and planetary science letters.

” tridymite It is usually associated with evolved explosive quartz volcanic systems on Earth, but we found it at the bottom of an ancient lake in Marswhere most of the volcanoes are very primitive,” he explained.

Tridymite: how did it get to Mars?

Siebach, Ries Associate Professor of Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences, is the mission specialist on the team. curiosity belonging POT. To solve the mystery, he teamed up with two PhD researchers in his Rice research group, Valerie Payre and Michael Thorpe, Elizabeth Rump of POT and Paula Antoshechkina of the California Institute of Technology. Pire, lead author of the study, is now at Northern Arizona University and is preparing to join the University of Iowa faculty this fall.

Curiosity posted this photo on Twitter on July 30, 2015.  In 2016, it was determined that tridymite had been found.
Curiosity posted this photo on Twitter on July 30, 2015. In 2016, it was determined that tridymite had been found. | Font: POT

Zibach and his colleagues began by re-evaluating the data for each outcome they found from tridymite on the Land. They also considered volcanic materials from volcanism models from Mars and reexamined the sedimentary evidence from the lake Gale Crater. They then came up with a new scenario that matched all the evidence: Martian magma spent longer than usual in a chamber beneath a volcano, undergoing a partial cooling process called fractional crystallization until more silicon became available.

With a strong eruption, the volcano threw out ash containing excess silicon in the form tridymite In the lake Gale Crater and surrounding rivers. The water helped break down the ash through the natural chemical processes of weathering, and also helped sort out the minerals formed from the weathering.

The stage would be focused tridymiteproducing minerals consistent with the 2016 find. This also explains other geochemical evidence that curiosity found in the sample, including opal silicates and reduced concentrations of alumina.

“This is actually a direct evolution of other volcanic rocks that we found in the crater,” Zibach said. “We argue that since we only saw this mineral once, and it was highly concentrated in one layer, the volcano probably erupted at the same time that the lake was there. Although the particular sample we analyzed was not exclusively volcanic ash, it was ash that had been weathered and sorted by water.”

If a volcanic eruption like the one described in the scenario occurred when storm crater contained a lake, this would mean that explosive volcanism occurred over 3 billion years ago, while Mars it was a transition from a wetter and perhaps warmer world to the dry and arid planet it is today.

“There is ample evidence of basaltic volcanic eruptions in Marsbut it is more advanced chemistry,” he said. “This work suggests that Mars may have a more complex and intriguing volcanic history than we previously imagined. curiosity”.

According to Europe Press

Source: RPP

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