Analysis of rocks showed that Mars used to resemble Iceland

The ancient Martian Gale Crater became the focus of research by scientists from Rice University, who compared

data from the Curiosity rover with places on Earth where similar geological formations were weathered in different climatic conditions.

Basalt relief of Iceland and cool weather withtemperatures, usually below 3 ° C, turned out to be the closest analogue of ancient Mars. The study found that it was temperature that influenced the weathering of ancient Martian rocks the most.

Data collected by Curiosity during itstravels since landing on Mars in 2012 provide detailed information on the chemical and physical state of the mudstones that formed in the ancient lake. Mudstones are hard rocks, the product of dehydration, pressing and recrystallization of clays that occurred during diagenesis and epigenesis. In terms of mineralogical and chemical composition, they are very similar to clays, but differ from them in their greater hardness and inability to soak in water. Their chemical composition does not allow direct identification of climatic conditions when the deposits eroded upstream. To do this, researchers had to look for similar rocks and soils on Earth in order to find the correlation between the planets.

In a study published in JGR Planets,uses data from well-known and varied environments in Iceland, Idaho (USA) and other locations around the world. The wide sample allowed us to understand what conditions on Earth correspond to the data from the Curiosity rover.

It is known that Gale Crater once had a lake.However, scientists have long debated what climate allowed water to fill it. Some argue that early Mars was warm and humid and that rivers and lakes were usually present on its surface. Others believe that the Red Planet was cold and dry, while glaciers and snow were more common.

New data shows that the correct scenario isthe third. The ancient climate was likely cold, but it also seems to have maintained liquid water in lakes for extended periods of time. It also turned out that the ancient rocks of Mars are comparable to deposits in modern rivers and lakes of Iceland. The results also showed that the planet's climate changed over time from Antarctic conditions to a more Icelandic version.

Research conducted by a PhD graduateMichael Thorpe, Martian geologist Kirsten Siebach of Rice University, and geologist Joel Herowitz of State University of New York at Stony Brook.

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Doctoral studies are a form of advanced training for persons withthe purpose of preparing them for the degree of Doctor of Science; a specialized subdivision of a university or research institution for the training of teaching and research personnel of the highest qualification - doctors of science.

In biology, epigenesis is a processthrough which plants, animals and fungi develop from seeds, spores or eggs through a sequence of stages in which cells differentiate and organs are formed.

Gale is an impact crater on Mars named after Walter Frederick Gale, an amateur astronomer who observed Mars in the late 19th century and described channels on it.

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