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Posted by on Jun 19, 2013 in Science |

Mars had an oxygen-rich atmosphere 4000 million years ago

Mars had an oxygen-rich atmosphere 4000 million years ago

A study published recently in the journal Nature titled “Volcanism on early oxidation controlled upper mantle”, and conducted by a team of academics from the University of Oxford led by Bernard Wood , said that 4,000 million years ago the planet Mars had oxygen-rich atmosphere, long before the rise of in Earth’s atmosphere 2,500 million years ago.

Scientists investigated the composition of Martian meteorites found on Earth, as well as the data that the ‘Spirit’ of NASA collected from rocks at Gusev Crater on Mars, finding that the surface rocks were five times more nickel meteorites the red planet that fell to Earth, which covered with a shadow of doubt whether meteorites were from Mars volcanic products.

“What we have shown is that both meteorites and volcanic rocks from the surface of the crater are consistent with similar rocks that originate deep inside Mars, but the surface come from an oxygen-rich environment, probably caused by the recycling of materials rich in oxygen in the planet’s interior, “said Wood.

What surprises scientists is that while meteorites are geologically ‘young’, between 180 and 1,400 million years old, the rover ‘Spirit’ was examining an old industry Mars rocks 3,700 million years old.

While varied geological composition of Mars change much in each region, the researchers believe that differences in the amount of oxygen come from a process known as subduction, which is when recycled material into planet.

This would suggest that the Martian surface was oxidized at a very early in its history and that by subduction, the oxygen-rich material was absorbed by the interior and recycled back to the surface during volcanic eruptions some 4,000 million years ago . In contrast, meteorites are much younger than the volcanic rocks that emerged from the depths of the planet, so they were not so influenced by this process.

Links:

Volcanism on Mars controlled by early oxidation of the upper mantle (Nature)

Research says Mars had oxygen-rich atmosphere 4000 million years ago (Phys.org)

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