Geologists figured out where the missing last reserves of water on Mars

© Photo : NASA/JPL/University of ArizonaСледы rivers of water in a crater on MarsGeologists figured out where the missing last reserves of water on Mars© Photo : NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

The last remnants of the Martian rivers and oceans would not evaporate into space, and literally absorbed into his rock and change their chemical composition and colours the planet red, according to a paper published in the journal Nature.

«The cycle of rocks within the Earth prevents sudden changes in water concentration on the surface of the planet, as an «extra» moisture removed from the rocks before they reach the mantle. On Mars it is not, and his water is constantly interacting with the «dry» basaltic lavas, forming water-rich minerals. As a result, the image of Mars changed and the planet became dry and lifeless,» said John Wade (Jon Wade) of Oxford University (UK).

In recent years scientists have found many hints that on the surface of Mars in ancient times there were rivers, lakes and entire oceans of water, which contained almost the same amount of liquid, like our Arctic ocean. On the other hand, some planetary scientists believe that even in the ancient era of Mars might be too cold for the continued existence of the oceans and its water could be in liquid state only during the eruptions.

Recent observations of Mars using ground-based telescopes showed that over the past 3.7 billion years, Mars lost an ocean of water, which would be enough to cover the entire surface of the red planet by the ocean with a thickness of 140 meters. Where did this water, scientists today are trying to figure out by studying the ancient Martian meteorites.

Wade and his colleagues drew attention to one interesting feature of the oldest Martian meteorites – their breed is absolutely not similar neither on colour, nor on the structure and composition of those minerals, which are today found on the surface of Mars Rovers Curiosity and Opportunity. In particular, they contain a large number of so-called basic rocks, and very few compounds with large number of atoms of oxygen and other oxidizing agents.

This gave them the idea that the chemical composition of rocks on Mars could significantly change in the last 4 billion years under the influence of cosmic rays, solar wind and liquid water, large stocks of which had to be on the planet at the time of the «bailout» of these meteorites.

Following this idea, the researchers analyzed how the water interacted with the rocks, the analogues of which are contained in the meteorites, and calculated the volume of water that they can absorb and hold within yourself as you descend into the bowels of Mars. This allowed them to understand where its water is and find the main «culprit» of the disappearance of ferric oxide.

As scientists have discovered Martian basalts and other basic rocks will absorb water and interact with it much more than their «cousins» from the Ground, as they contain almost two times more iron oxide than the same minerals on our planet. Due to this the surface of Mars turned into a kind of sponge that continuously absorbs the water and almost gets it back due to the fact that the red planet is no tectonics.

As a result, a large part of the waters of Mars, according to Wade, not evaporate into space, according to the majority of planetary scientists, and «flowed» into its depths where she’s hiding out until now. The next Rover NASA, as I hope the authors will help to check whether this is so or not.