Sequestration of Martian CO2 by mineral carbonation

Tomkinson, T., Lee, M.R. , Mark, D.F. and Smith, C.L. (2013) Sequestration of Martian CO2 by mineral carbonation. Nature Communications, 4(2662), (doi: 10.1038/ncomms3662) (PMID:24149494) (PMCID:PMC4354006)

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Abstract

Carbonation is the water-mediated replacement of silicate minerals, such as olivine, by carbonate, and is commonplace in the Earth’s crust. This reaction can remove significant quantities of CO2 from the atmosphere and store it over geological timescales. Here we present the first direct evidence for CO2 sequestration and storage on Mars by mineral carbonation. Electron beam imaging and analysis show that olivine and a plagioclase feldspar-rich mesostasis in the Lafayette meteorite have been replaced by carbonate. The susceptibility of olivine to replacement was enhanced by the presence of smectite veins along which CO2-rich fluids gained access to grain interiors. Lafayette was partially carbonated during the Amazonian, when liquid water was available intermittently and atmospheric CO2 concentrations were close to their present-day values. Earlier in Mars’ history, when the planet had a much thicker atmosphere and an active hydrosphere, carbonation is likely to have been an effective mechanism for sequestration of CO2.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Mark, Professor Darren and Tomkinson, Dr Tim and Lee, Professor Martin and Smith, Dr Caroline
Authors: Tomkinson, T., Lee, M.R., Mark, D.F., and Smith, C.L.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Geographical and Earth Sciences
College of Science and Engineering > Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre
Journal Name:Nature Communications
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group
ISSN:2041-1723
ISSN (Online):2041-1723
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2013 Macmillan Publishers Limited
First Published:First published in Nature Communications 4:2662
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
519741Follow the water: insights into the martian hydrosphere from nakhlitesMartin LeeScience & Technologies Facilities Council (STFC)ST/H002960/1SCHOOL OF GEOGRAPHICAL & EARTH SCIENCES