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Halite as a Methane Sequestration Host: A Possible Explanation for Periodic Methane Release on Mars, and a Surface-accessible Source of Ancient Martian CarbonWe present the hypothesis that halite may play a role in methane sequestration on the martian surface. In terrestrial examples, halite deposits sequester large volumes of methane and chloromethane. Also, examples of chloromethane-bearing, approximately 4.5 Ga old halite from the Monahans meteorite show that this system is very stable unless the halite is damaged. On Mars, methane may be generated from carbonaceous material trapped in ancient halite deposits and sequestered. The methane may be released by damaging its halite host; either by aqueous alteration, aeolian abrasion, heating, or impact shock. Such a scenario may help to explain the appearance of short-lived releases of methane on the martian surface. The methane may be of either biogenic or abiogenic origin. If this scenario plays a significant role on Mars, then martian halite deposits may contain samples of organic compounds dating to the ancient desiccation of the planet, accessible at the surface for future sample return missions.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Johnson Space Center
Document Type
Conference Paper
Fries, M. D.
(NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Steele, Andrew
(Carnegie Institution for Science Washington, DC, United States)
Hynek, B. M.
(Carnegie Institution for Science Washington, DC, United States)
Date Acquired
March 12, 2015
Publication Date
March 16, 2015
Subject Category
Lunar And Planetary Science And Exploration
Chemistry And Materials (General)
Report/Patent Number
Meeting Information
Meeting: Lunar and Planetary Science Conference
Location: The Woodlands, TX
Country: United States
Start Date: March 16, 2015
End Date: March 20, 2015
Sponsors: Universities Space Research Association, NASA Johnson Space Center, Lunar and Planetary Inst.
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.
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