‘Martian CSI’ reveals how asteroid impacts created running water under red planet
A graphical model of how asteroid impacts help create temporary sources of running water on the Mars. The nakhlite meteorites are a suite of igneous rocks that crystallised around a complex volcanic edifice on Mars 1.3-1.4 billion years ago. New quantitative textural analysis of these meteorites has revealed evidence for an impact generated hydrothermal system on Mars 633 million years ago. These meteorites were then ejected from Mars during a second impact 11 million years ago. Credit: University of Glasgow

Modern analysis of Martian meteorites has revealed unprecedented details about how asteroid impacts help create temporary sources of running water on the red planet.

This study helps to narrow down the potential location of the impact crater on the Martian surface which blasted some of those Martian rocks into space millions of years ago.

The findings are the outcome of a kind of “Martian CSI’ which uses sophisticated techniques to reconstruct major events that shaped the rock since it formed on Mars around 1.4 billion years ago.

The paper, titled “Boom boom pow: shock-facilitated aqueous alteration and evidence for two shock events in the Martian nakhlite meteorites,” is published in Science Advances. The research was funded by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC).

In the new paper, University of Glasgow planetary scientists and colleagues from Leeds, Italy, Australia and Sweden describe how they used a technique known as to examine slices of two different Martian meteorites known as “nakhlites.”

The nakhlites are group of volcanic Martian meteorites named after El Nakhla in Egypt, where the first of them fell to Earth in 1911. Excitingly, these meteorite’s preserve evidence of the action of liquid water on the Martian surface approximately 633 million years ago. However, the process which generated these fluids has been a mystery until now.

Dr. Luke Daly, Research Associate in Solar System Science at the University of Glasgow’s School of Geographical and Earth Sciences, is the paper’s lead author.

Dr. Daly said: “There’s a huge amount of information about Mars locked insi

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