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Hydration state of zeolites, clays, and hydrated salts under present-day martian surface conditions: Can hydrous minerals account for Mars Odyssey observations of near-equatorial water-equivalent hydrogen?
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Dr Claire Fialips
Fialips CI, Carey JW, Vaniman DT, Bish DL, Feldman WC, Mellon MT
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Thermodynamic data for several clays, zeolites, and MgSO4 salts were combined with calculated yearly mean temperatures and watervapor pressures on the martian surface to predict mineral hydration states from low to middle latitudes. These predictions were used to evaluate whether the necessary amount and distribution of hydrous minerals were compatible with the Mars Odyssey observations of waterequivalent hydrogen (WEH). Our results indicate that zeolites like chabazite or clay minerals like Ca-montmorillonite would have to be unrealistically abundant in the martian soil (as much as 55 wt%) while Mg-sulfate hydrates at concentrations between 2 and 11 wt% could account for the WEH. However, the geographic distribution of WEH is incompatible with a uniformly distributed mineralogy in equilibrium with the annual mean P–T environment. A heterogeneous distribution of a mixture of different hydrous minerals, reflecting a heterogeneous Mars surface geology, may better explain a significant portion of the observed near-equatorial WEH.
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