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Appears in Collections:Biological and Environmental Sciences Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Freeze-thaw cycles drove chemical weathering and enriched sulfates in the Burns formation at Meridiani, Mars
Other Titles: Freeze-thaw geochemically altered Mars’s surface
Author(s): Liu, Jiacheng
Michalski, Joseph
Gao, Wenyuan
Schroeder, Christian
Li, Yi-Liang
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Issue Date: 19-Jan-2024
Date Deposited: 1-Dec-2023
Citation: Liu J, Michalski J, Gao W, Schroeder C & Li Y (2024) Freeze-thaw cycles drove chemical weathering and enriched sulfates in the Burns formation at Meridiani, Mars [Freeze-thaw geochemically altered Mars’s surface]. <i>Science Advances</i>, 10 (3), Art. No.: eadi1805.
Abstract: Sulfate-rich sedimentary rocks explored by the Opportunity rover during its 14-year surface mission at Meridiani Planum provide an invaluable window into the thousands of sulfate deposits detected on Mars via remote sensing. Existing models explaining the formation of martian sulfates can be generally described as either bottom-up, groundwater-driven playa settings or top-down icy chemical weathering environments. Here, we propose a hybrid model involving both bottom-up and top-down processes driven by freeze-thaw cycles. Freezing leads to cryo-concentration of acidic fluids from precipitations at the surface, facilitating rapid chemical weathering despite low temperatures. Cryosuction causes the upwards migration of vadose water and even groundwater with dissolved ions, resulting in the accumulation of ions in near-surface environments. Evaporation precipitates salts but leaching separates chlorides from sulfates during the thawing period. Freeze-thaw cycles, therefore, can enrich sulfates at the surface. While freeze-thaw is more commonly understood as a mechanism of physical weathering, we suggest it is a fundamental aspect of chemical weathering on Mars.
DOI Link: 10.1126/sciadv.adi1805
Rights: Copyright © 2024 The Authors, some rights reserved; exclusive licensee American Association for the Advancement of Science. No claim to original U.S. Government Works. Distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial License 4.0 (CC BY-NC). is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, so long as the resultant use is not for commercial advantage and provided the original work is properly cited.
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