Volcanic history of Red Planet set to unravel

Washington, Sept. 27 : Mars rover Curiosity has completed the first comprehensive mineralogical analysis Mars using a standard laboratory method for identifying minerals on Earth.

The findings about both crystalline and non-crystalline components in soil provide could provide clues to the planet's volcanic history.

Information about the evolution of the Martian crust and deeper regions within the planet comes from Curiosity's mineralogical analysis of a football-size igneous rock called 'Jake M.'

Igneous rocks form by cooling molten material that originated well beneath the crust. The chemical compositions of the rocks can be used to infer the thermal, pressure and chemical conditions under which they crystallized.

Lead author Edward Stolper of the California Institute of Technology, said that no other Martian rock is so similar to terrestrial igneous rocks.

Stoler said that this is surprising because previously studied igneous rocks from Mars differ substantially from terrestrial rocks and from Jake M.

The study has been published in the journal Science.

--ANI (Posted on 27-09-2013)

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