Contribution of Organic Material to the Stable Isotope Composition of Some Terrestrial Carbonates as Analogs for Martian ProcessesUnderstanding the isotopic geochemistry of terrestrial carbonate formation is essential to understanding the evolution of the Martian atmosphere, hydrosphere, and potential biosphere. Carbonate minerals, in particular, are important secondary minerals for interpreting past aqueous environments, as illustrated by the carbonates present in ALH84001 . Models for the history of Mars suggest that the planet was warmer, wetter, and possessed a greater atmospheric pressure within the first billion years as compared to present conditions ,,, and likely had an active hydrologic cycle. Morse and Marion  point out that associated with this hydrologic cycle would be the active chemical weathering of silicate minerals and thus consumption of atmospheric CO2 and deposition of carbonate and silica. It is during this warmer and wetter period of Martian history that surface and/or near-surface conditions would be most favorable for harboring possible microbiological life. Carbonates within ALH84001 offer evidence that fluids were present at 3.9 Gy on Mars . A more through understanding of the effects of aqueous weathering and the potential contribution of organic compounds on the isotopic composition of Martian carbonate minerals can be gained by studying some terrestrial occurrences of carbonate rocks.
Socki, Richard A. (NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Gibson, Everett K., Jr. (NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Bissada, K. K. (Houston Univ. TX, United States)
September 7, 2013
January 1, 2005
Publication: Lunar and Planetary Science XXXVI, Part 18