Evidence of 4bn-years-old life may be preserved in Martian rocks

July 30th, 2010 - 2:16 pm ICT by ANI  

London, July 30 (ANI): A research on hydrothermal formation of Clay-Carbonate rocks in the Nili Fossae region of Mars could provide a link to evidence of living organisms on Mars, roughly 4 billion years ago in the Noachian period.

Adrian J. Brown suggests that the rocks are made up of hydrothermally altered ultramafic (perhaps komatiitic) rocks.

The scientists also discuss the potential of the Archean volcanics of the East Pilbara region of Western Australia as an analog for the Nochian Nili Fossae on Mars, which indicate that biomarkers or evidence of living organisms.

If produced at Nili, they could have been preserved, as they have been in the North Pole Dome region of the Pilbara craton.

Moreover, the study explains that talc is present in close proximity to the carbonate locations - rather than previously suggested saponite - and talc-carbonate alteration of high-Mg precursor rocks has taken place.

Adrian Brown, corresponding author, explains, “We suggest that the associated hydrothermal activity would have provided sufficient energy for biological activity on early Mars at Nili Fossae.”

The study is published in the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters. (ANI)

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