Volcanic activity represents one of the main factors controlling the geological evolution of Mars, whose morphology has remarkable counterparts on Earth. Studies on the Martian surface revealed the widespread occurrences of newly formed minerals originated by the hydrothermal alteration of volcanic rocks. In this work, we carried out a series of experiments to test the reactions occurring during the hydrothermal alteration of basaltic ash from Etna (Italy) as a possible similar reaction fully grown on the Martian rock. The volcanic ash used for the hydrothermal alteration experiments was collected during the eruption of Etna in 2001, and its composition shares similarities with Martian bedrocks. Ash was altered under hydrothermal conditions at initial pH 5 at two temperatures (150 and 200 C) and reaction times of 5, 10, and 31 days. After a number of runs, we attained analcime NaAlSi2O6H2O. Our findings are in line with the hypothesis that zeolite on Mars probably originated from a low-temperature hydrothermal environment. The conclusions accord with the assumption that the analcime crystals recognized on Mars formed under the same conditions as those of our experimental setups.

Hydrothermal Alteration of Etna Ash and Implications for Mars

Bloise, Andrea
;
Cannata, Chiara Benedetta;Rosa, Rosanna De
2020

Abstract

Volcanic activity represents one of the main factors controlling the geological evolution of Mars, whose morphology has remarkable counterparts on Earth. Studies on the Martian surface revealed the widespread occurrences of newly formed minerals originated by the hydrothermal alteration of volcanic rocks. In this work, we carried out a series of experiments to test the reactions occurring during the hydrothermal alteration of basaltic ash from Etna (Italy) as a possible similar reaction fully grown on the Martian rock. The volcanic ash used for the hydrothermal alteration experiments was collected during the eruption of Etna in 2001, and its composition shares similarities with Martian bedrocks. Ash was altered under hydrothermal conditions at initial pH 5 at two temperatures (150 and 200 C) and reaction times of 5, 10, and 31 days. After a number of runs, we attained analcime NaAlSi2O6H2O. Our findings are in line with the hypothesis that zeolite on Mars probably originated from a low-temperature hydrothermal environment. The conclusions accord with the assumption that the analcime crystals recognized on Mars formed under the same conditions as those of our experimental setups.
Etna ash; hydrothermal alteration; analcime; Mars
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11770/304579
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