Skip to main content

D.J. Des Marais

thumbnail
Sedimentary rocks exposed in the Meridiani Planum region of Mars record aqueous and eolian deposition in ancient dune and interdune playa-like environments that were arid, acidic, and oxidizing. On Earth, microbial populations have repeatedly adapted to low pH and both episodic and chronic water limitation, suggesting that, to a first approximation, the Meridiani plain may have been habitable during at least part of the interval when deposition and early diagenesis took place. On the other hand, the environmental conditions inferred for Meridiani deposition would have posed a challenge for prebiotic chemical reactions thought to have played a role in the origin of life on Earth. Orbital observations suggest that...
thumbnail
The Noachian terrain west of the Isidis basin hosts a diverse collection of alteration minerals in rocks comprising varied geomorphic units within a 100,000 km2 region in and near the Nili Fossae. Prior investigations in this region by the Observatoire pour l'Min??ralogie, l'Eau, les Glaces, et l'Activit?? (OMEGA) instrument on Mars Express revealed large exposures of both mafic minerals and iron magnesium phyllosilicates in stratigraphic context. Expanding on the discoveries of OMEGA, the Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM) aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) has found more spatially widespread and mineralogically diverse alteration minerals than previously realized, which represent...
thumbnail
Geochemical models for Mars predict carbonate formation during aqueous alteration. Carbonate-bearing rocks had not previously been detected on Mars' surface, but Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter mapping reveals a regional rock layer with near-infrared spectral characteristics that are consistent with the presence of magnesium carbonate in the Nili Fossae region. The carbonate is closely associated with both phyllosilicate-bearing and olivine-rich rock units and probably formed during the Noachian or early Hesperian era from the alteration of olivine by either hydrothermal fluids or near-surface water. The presence of carbonate as well as accompanying clays suggests that waters were neutral to alkaline at the time of...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Science
thumbnail
Three carbon components are evident in eleven analyzed mid-oceanic basalts: carbon on sample surfaces (resembling adsorbed gases, organic matter, or other non-magmatic carbon species acquired by the glasses subsequent to their eruption), mantle carbon dioxide in vesicles, and mantle carbon dissolved in the glasses. The combustion technique employed recovered only reduced sulfur, all of which appears to be indigenous to the glasses. The dissolved carbon concentration (measured in vesicle-free glass) increases with the eruption depth of the spreading ridge, and is consistent with earlier data which show that magma carbon solubility increases with pressure. The total glass carbon content (dissolved plus vesicular carbon)...
thumbnail
Distribution and isotopic composition (??13C) of low molecular weight hydrocarbon gases were studied in Big Soda Lake (depth = 64 m), an alkaline, meromictic lake with permanently anoxic bottom waters. Methane increased with depth in the anoxic mixolimnion (depth = 20-35 m), reached uniform concentrations (55 ??M/l) in the monimolimnion (35-64 m) and again increased with depth in monimolimnion bottom sediments (>400 ??M/kg below 1 m sub-bottom depth). The ??13C[CH4] values in bottom sediment below 1 m sub-bottom depth (<-70 per mil) increased with vertical distance up the core (??13C[CH4] = -55 per mil at sediment surface). Monimolimnion ??13C[CH4] values (-55 to -61 per mil) were greater than most ??13C[CH4] values...
View more...
ScienceBase brings together the best information it can find about USGS researchers and offices to show connections to publications, projects, and data. We are still working to improve this process and information is by no means complete. If you don't see everything you know is associated with you, a colleague, or your office, please be patient while we work to connect the dots. Feel free to contact sciencebase@usgs.gov.