Oxalate minerals on Mars?

D. M. Applin, Matthew Richar Izawa, E. A. Cloutis, D. Goltz, J. R. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Small amounts of unidentified organic compounds have only recently been inferred on Mars despite strong reasons to expect significant concentrations and decades of searching. Based on X-ray diffraction and reflectance spectroscopic analyses we show that solid oxalic acid and its most common mineral salts are stable under the pressure and ultraviolet irradiation environment of the surface of Mars, and could represent a heretofore largely overlooked reservoir of organic carbon in the martian near-surface. In addition to the delivery to Mars by carbonaceous chondrites, oxalate minerals are among the predicted breakdown products of meteoritic organic matter delivered to the martian surface, as well as any endogenic organic carbon reaching the martian surface from the interior. A reinterpretation of pyrolysis experiments from the Viking, Phoenix, and Mars Science Laboratory missions shows that all are consistent with the presence of significant concentrations of oxalate minerals. Oxalate minerals could be important in numerous martian geochemical processes, including acting as a possible nitrogen sink (as ammonium oxalate), and contributing to the formation of "organic" carbonates, methane, and hydroxyl radicals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-139
Number of pages13
JournalEarth and Planetary Science Letters
Volume420
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 5 2015
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Oxalates
oxalates
oxalate
mars
Minerals
Mars
minerals
Oxalic Acid
mineral
Organic carbon
organic carbon
Phoenix (AZ)
carbonaceous chondrites
oxalic acid
carbonaceous chondrite
carbon
Carbonates
Methane
hydroxyl radicals
hydroxyl radical

Keywords

  • Carbonaceous chondrites
  • Mars
  • Organic compounds
  • Oxalates
  • Oxalic acid
  • Reflectance spectroscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science

Cite this

Applin, D. M., Richar Izawa, M., Cloutis, E. A., Goltz, D., & Johnson, J. R. (2015). Oxalate minerals on Mars? Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 420, 127-139. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.epsl.2015.03.034

Oxalate minerals on Mars? / Applin, D. M.; Richar Izawa, Matthew; Cloutis, E. A.; Goltz, D.; Johnson, J. R.

In: Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Vol. 420, 05.06.2015, p. 127-139.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Applin, DM, Richar Izawa, M, Cloutis, EA, Goltz, D & Johnson, JR 2015, 'Oxalate minerals on Mars?', Earth and Planetary Science Letters, vol. 420, pp. 127-139. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.epsl.2015.03.034
Applin, D. M. ; Richar Izawa, Matthew ; Cloutis, E. A. ; Goltz, D. ; Johnson, J. R. / Oxalate minerals on Mars?. In: Earth and Planetary Science Letters. 2015 ; Vol. 420. pp. 127-139.
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