Did an Impact Make the Mysterious Microscopic Magnetite Crystals in ALH 84001?
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Did an Impact Make the Mysterious Microscopic Magnetite Crystals in ALH 84001? PowerPoint PPT Presentation


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Did an Impact Make the Mysterious Microscopic Magnetite Crystals in ALH 84001?. Tiny crystals of magnetite found in the carbonates in ALH 84001 are under investigation because of the debate over how they formed.

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Did an Impact Make the Mysterious Microscopic Magnetite Crystals in ALH 84001?

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Did an impact make the mysterious microscopic magnetite crystals in alh 84001

Did an Impact Make the Mysterious Microscopic Magnetite Crystals in ALH 84001?

  • Tiny crystals of magnetite found in the carbonates in ALH 84001 are under investigation because of the debate over how they formed.

  • Some investigators suggest the crystals are evidence of past life on Mars, citing magnetite crystals of similar chemical compositions and sizes made by magnetotactic bacteria on Earth.

  • Others use experimental results to show magnetites formed entirely by non-biological processes, hence the crystals say nothing about life on Mars.

  • One of those processes is the decomposition of iron carbonate (the mineral siderite), which occurs in ALH 84001.

www.psrd.hawaii.edu/Oct07/magnetite-origin.html


Did an impact make the mysterious microscopic magnetite crystals in alh 84001

Did an Impact Make the Mysterious Microscopic Magnetite Crystals in ALH 84001?

  • ALH 84001 is an old rock that crystallized in a large body of magma deep in the Martian crust 4.5 billion years ago.

  • An impact event excavated the rock to a location near the surface, where water evaporated and precipitated carbonate minerals, including iron carbonate (siderite), along grain boundaries.

  • The rock was shocked after that event, causing assorted deformation of the carbonates, possibly including decomposition of the siderite.

A Brief Geologic History of Martian Meteorite ALH 84001

www.psrd.hawaii.edu/Oct07/magnetite-origin.html


Did an impact make the mysterious microscopic magnetite crystals in alh 84001

Did an Impact Make the Mysterious Microscopic Magnetite Crystals in ALH 84001?

  • Mary Sue Bell’s laboratory experiments show shock decomposition of siderite and its transformation to magnetite when shocked to 49 GPa.

  • Magnetite crystals produced in Bell’s shock experiments have the same size range, composition, and shapes as some of the magnetites found in ALH 84001.

  • The tiny crystals of magnetite in ALH 84001 might have been made when shock waves decomposed iron carbonate, as during an impact event.

This transmission electron microscope image shows the transformation of siderite to magnetite when shocked to 49 GPa pressure in the lab. In the upper right area, labeled "S", is siderite containing nucleating crystals of magnetite. The other crystals in this image, labeled “a,b,c” are magnetites of different shapes.

www.psrd.hawaii.edu/Oct07/magnetite-origin.html


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