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Mars Veins Caused by Evaporating Ancient Lakes

Aug 08, 2016 03:05 AM EDT
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A recent study suggests that the mineral veins found on Mars are result of the evaporation of ancient lakes on the red planet.
(Photo : NASA/Getty Images)

More and more evidence point out that there was once water on the ancient Mars. Like the recent study that says the veins found on the red planet were formed by evaporating ancient Martian lake.

The Mars Science Laboratory Participating Scientists at the Open University and the University of Leicester conducted a research that looked into the data gathered by the mars Curiosity rover. The researchers explored the Yellowknife Bay located in the Gale Crater. They examined the "mineralogy" of the veins that were once pathways for the ancient groundwater on Mars.

Based on their findings, the researchers suggest that the veins on Mars were formed due to the remnants or sediments from ancient Martian lakes, which were underground, heated and corroded.

"The taste of this Martian groundwater would be rather unpleasant, with about 20 times the content of sulphate and sodium than bottled mineral water for instance," professor John Bridges from the University of Leicester Department of Physics and Astronomy said in a statement. "However, as Dr. Schwenzer from The Open University concludes, some microbes on Earth do like sulphur and iron rich fluids, because they can use those two elements to gain energy. Therefore, for the question of habitability at Gale Crater the taste of the water is very exciting news," Bridges added.

The evaporation of lakes and the water in it can lead to the formation of sediments such as silica and sulphate-rich deposits. And the discovery of such strongly suggests that there were once ancient lakes on the Gale Crater.

The researchers suggest that evaporation of ancient lakes in the Yellowknife Bay would have led to the formation of silica and sulphate-rich deposits. Mudstones in the area were also studied and compared to other materials found in Mars to arrive at their findings.

"These results provide further evidence for the long and varied history of water in Gale crater,' Ashwin Vasavada, Curiosity Project Scientist from the Nasa Jet Propulsion Laboratory said in a statement published by Daily Mail. "Multiple generations of fluids, each with a unique chemistry, must have been present to account for what we find in the rock record today," Vasavada added.

What's surprising about the discovery is that according to the research, the sulfur-rich and iron-rich water of the ancient lakes could have supported alien life forms in the past.


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