Record of low-temperature aqueous alteration of Martian zircon during the late AmazonianOPEN ACCESS 

Martin Guitreau & Jessica Flahaut

Nature Communications 10, 1–9


“Several lines of evidence support the presence of liquid water on Mars at different times. Among those, hydrated minerals testify to past aqueous weathering processes that can be precisely studied in Martian meteorites such as NWA 7533/7034. Bringing constraints on the timing of weathering of the Martian crust would help understand its evolution, the availability of liquid water, and the habitability of Mars. Here we present a new method based on U–Th–Pb isotope systems to assess if zircon crystals underwent low-temperature aqueous alteration, such as exemplified by Hadean-aged detrital crystals from Western Australia. Data for NWA 7533 zircons show evidence for aqueous alteration and modeling of U–Th–Pb isotope system evolution indicates that the latest alteration event occurred during the late Amazonian (227–56 Ma). This finding largely expands the time duration over which liquid water was available near the Martian surface, thereby suggesting that Mars might still be habitable.”