Organic synthesis associated with serpentinization and carbonation on early Mars

A. Steele , L. G. Benning , R. Wirth, A. Schreiber, T. Araki , F. M. McCubbin , M. D. Fries, L. R. Nittler , J. Wang , L. J. Hallis , P. G. Conrad , C. Conley , S. Vitale , A. C. O’Brien, V. Riggi and K. Rogers

Science • 13 Jan 2022 • Vol 375, Issue 6577 • pp. 172-177


Supplementary Materials (PDF DOWNLOAD)

“Water-rock interactions are relevant to planetary habitability, influencing mineralogical diversity and the production of organic molecules. We examine carbonates and silicates in the martian meteorite Allan Hills 84001 (ALH 84001), using colocated nanoscale analyses, to characterize the nature of water-rock reactions on early Mars. We find complex refractory organic material associated with mineral assemblages that formed by mineral carbonation and serpentinization reactions. The organic molecules are colocated with nanophase magnetite; both formed in situ during water-rock interactions on Mars. Two potentially distinct mechanisms of abiotic organic synthesis operated on early Mars during the late Noachian period (3.9 to 4.1 billion years ago).”