Washington, Aug 28 IANS | 2 months ago

An ancient Martian meteorite discovered in the Sahara desert may give scientists a clue about the ancient climate pattern of the red planet.

Looking at the chemical clues locked inside the rock, scientists are in the process of finding out whether Mars - now a cold, dry place - was once a warm, wet planet that sustained life.

The team found evidence for the climate shift in minerals called zircons embedded inside the dark, glossy meteorite.

Zircons, which are also abundant in the earth's crust, form when lava cools.

"When you find a zircon, it is like finding a watch. A zircon begins keeping track of time from the moment it is born," said Munir Humayun, a professor of geochemistry at Florida State University.

The zircons in the meteorite are an astonishing 4.4 billion years old.

"The secret to Mars' climate lies in the fact that zircons (ZrSiO4) contain oxygen, implying that it formed during the red planet's infancy and during a time when the planet might have been able to sustain life," Humayun explained.

On Mars, oxygen is distributed in the atmosphere (as carbon dioxide, molecular oxygen and ozone), in the hydrosphere (as water) and in rocks.

"First we learned that about 4.5 billion years ago, water was abundant on Mars and now we have learned that something dramatically changed that," Humayun maintained.

The conditions that we see today on this dry Martian desert, must have persisted for at least the past 1.7 billion years.

"We now know that Mars has been dry for a very long time," Humayun concluded in a paper appeared in the journal Nature Geoscience.

(Posted on 28-08-2014)

Share This Page:

Post your comments

Information on States of India:

Andaman Nicobar | Andhra Pradesh | Arunachal Pradesh | Assam | Bihar | Chandigarh | Chhattisgarh | Dadar Nagar Haveli | Daman Diu | Delhi | Goa | Gujarat | Haryana | Himachal Pradesh | Jammu Kashmir | Jharkhand | Karnataka | Kerala | Lakshadweep | Madhya Pradesh | Maharashtra | Manipur | Meghalaya | Mizoram | Nagaland | Orissa | Pondicherry | Punjab | Rajasthan | Sikkim | Tamil Nadu | Tripura | Uttar Pradesh | Uttaranchal | West Bengal


Andhra Pradesh Travel Map | Bihar Travel Map | Goa Travel Map | Gujarat Travel Map | Haryana Travel Map | Himachal Pradesh Map | Karnataka Travel Map | Kerala Travel Map | Maharashtra Travel Map | Punjab Travel Map | Rajasthan Travel Map | Sikkim Travel Map | Tamil Nadu Travel Map | Uttar Pradesh Travel Map | West Bengal Travel Map |


Alappuzha | Ernakulam | Idukki | Kannur | Kasaragod | Kollam | Kottayam | Kozhikode | Malappuram | Palakkad | Pathanamthitta | Thiruvananthapuram | Thrissur | Wayanad |


Airports of India | Districts of India | India Pilgrim Centers | Tourism Map of India | National Highways in India | India Railway Routes |


Ahmadabad | Bangalore | Chennai | Coimbatore | Delhi | Hyderabad/Secunderabad | Kochi | Kolkata | Mumbai | Pondicherry | Pune | Surat |