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Whaddabout the Sulfates on Mars? (What we know; what we suppose; what it means)

Wednesday, September 29, 2004
Lane (PSI)

Definitive evidence for sulfates on Mars has been presented in 2004, including the Mars Exploration Rover M ssbauer spectroscopic identification of jarosite in Meridiani Planum and the Mars Express OMEGA visible/near infrared spectroscopic identification of kieserite in Valles Marineris and elsewhere. In addition to M ssbauer and VIS/NIR, other spectroscopic techniques can be employed for determining which sulfate minerals are present on Mars. My research focuses on the use of the thermal infrared range of the electromagnetic spectrum to study sulfates using emission spectroscopy. This technique has led me and my colleagues to suggest the presence of hydrous iron sulfates in the soil of Mars. Terrestrial sulfates form under quite diverse environmental conditions and clearly sulfate minerals are important Martian geologic materials. I will discuss the types of sulfates identified on Mars and their formational environments and address what can be said about the chemical settings that once existed on Mars.

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