A reduced organic carbon component in martian basalts

A. Steele, F. M. McCubbin, M. Fries, L. Kater, N. Z. Boctor, M. L. Fogel, P. G. Conrad, M. Glamoclija, M. Spencer, A. L. Morrow, M. R. Hammond, R. N. Zare, E. P. Vicenzi, S. Siljeström, R. Bowden, C. D.K. Herd, B. O. Mysen, S. B. Shirey, H. E.F. Amundsen, A. H. TreimanE. S. Bullock, A. J.T. Jull

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Abstract

The source and nature of carbon on Mars have been a subject of intense speculation. We report the results of confocal Raman imaging spectroscopy on 11 martian meteorites, spanning about 4.2 billion years of martian history. Ten of the meteorites contain abiotic macromolecular carbon (MMC) phases detected in association with small oxide grains included within high-temperature minerals. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons were detected along with MMC phases in Dar al Gani 476. The association of organic carbon within magmatic minerals indicates that martian magmas favored precipitation of reduced carbon species during crystallization. The ubiquitous distribution of abiotic organic carbon in martian igneous rocks is important for understanding the martian carbon cycle and has implications for future missions to detect possible past martian life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)212-215
Number of pages4
JournalScience
Volume337
Issue number6091
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 13 2012

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Steele, A., McCubbin, F. M., Fries, M., Kater, L., Boctor, N. Z., Fogel, M. L., Conrad, P. G., Glamoclija, M., Spencer, M., Morrow, A. L., Hammond, M. R., Zare, R. N., Vicenzi, E. P., Siljeström, S., Bowden, R., Herd, C. D. K., Mysen, B. O., Shirey, S. B., Amundsen, H. E. F., ... Jull, A. J. T. (2012). A reduced organic carbon component in martian basalts. Science, 337(6091), 212-215. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1220715