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Title: Clay mineral formation under oxidized conditions and implications for paleoenvironments and organic preservation on Mars

Abstract

Clay mineral-bearing locations have been targeted for martian exploration as potentially habitable environments and as possible repositories for the preservation of organic matter. Although organic matter has been detected at Gale Crater, Mars, its concentrations are lower than expected from meteoritic and indigenous igneous and hydrothermal reduced carbon. We conducted synthesis experiments motivated by the hypothesis that some clay mineral formation may have occurred under oxidized conditions conducive to the destruction of organics. Previous work has suggested that anoxic and/or reducing conditions are needed to synthesize the Fe-rich clay mineral nontronite at low temperatures. In contrast, our experiments demonstrated the rapid formation of Fe-rich clay minerals of variable crystallinity from aqueous Fe3+ with small amounts of aqueous Mg2+. Our results suggest that Fe-rich clay minerals such as nontronite can form rapidly under oxidized conditions, which could help explain low concentrations of organics within some smectite-containing rocks or sediments on Mars.

Authors:
; ; ORCiD logo; ; ; ORCiD logo; ;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States). Advanced Photon Source (APS)
Sponsoring Org.:
National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA)
OSTI Identifier:
1408123
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Nature Communications; Journal Volume: 8; Journal Issue: 1
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
ENGLISH
Subject:
58 GEOSCIENCES

Citation Formats

Gainey, Seth R., Hausrath, Elisabeth M., Adcock, Christopher T., Tschauner, Oliver, Hurowitz, Joel A., Ehlmann, Bethany L., Xiao, Yuming, and Bartlett, Courtney L.. Clay mineral formation under oxidized conditions and implications for paleoenvironments and organic preservation on Mars. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.1038/s41467-017-01235-7.
Gainey, Seth R., Hausrath, Elisabeth M., Adcock, Christopher T., Tschauner, Oliver, Hurowitz, Joel A., Ehlmann, Bethany L., Xiao, Yuming, & Bartlett, Courtney L.. Clay mineral formation under oxidized conditions and implications for paleoenvironments and organic preservation on Mars. United States. doi:10.1038/s41467-017-01235-7.
Gainey, Seth R., Hausrath, Elisabeth M., Adcock, Christopher T., Tschauner, Oliver, Hurowitz, Joel A., Ehlmann, Bethany L., Xiao, Yuming, and Bartlett, Courtney L.. Wed . "Clay mineral formation under oxidized conditions and implications for paleoenvironments and organic preservation on Mars". United States. doi:10.1038/s41467-017-01235-7.
@article{osti_1408123,
title = {Clay mineral formation under oxidized conditions and implications for paleoenvironments and organic preservation on Mars},
author = {Gainey, Seth R. and Hausrath, Elisabeth M. and Adcock, Christopher T. and Tschauner, Oliver and Hurowitz, Joel A. and Ehlmann, Bethany L. and Xiao, Yuming and Bartlett, Courtney L.},
abstractNote = {Clay mineral-bearing locations have been targeted for martian exploration as potentially habitable environments and as possible repositories for the preservation of organic matter. Although organic matter has been detected at Gale Crater, Mars, its concentrations are lower than expected from meteoritic and indigenous igneous and hydrothermal reduced carbon. We conducted synthesis experiments motivated by the hypothesis that some clay mineral formation may have occurred under oxidized conditions conducive to the destruction of organics. Previous work has suggested that anoxic and/or reducing conditions are needed to synthesize the Fe-rich clay mineral nontronite at low temperatures. In contrast, our experiments demonstrated the rapid formation of Fe-rich clay minerals of variable crystallinity from aqueous Fe3+ with small amounts of aqueous Mg2+. Our results suggest that Fe-rich clay minerals such as nontronite can form rapidly under oxidized conditions, which could help explain low concentrations of organics within some smectite-containing rocks or sediments on Mars.},
doi = {10.1038/s41467-017-01235-7},
journal = {Nature Communications},
number = 1,
volume = 8,
place = {United States},
year = {Wed Nov 01 00:00:00 EDT 2017},
month = {Wed Nov 01 00:00:00 EDT 2017}
}