Navigation Links
Unusual greenhouse gases may have raised ancient Martian temperature
Date:11/24/2013

Much like the Grand Canyon, Nanedi Valles snakes across the Martian surface suggesting that liquid water once crossed the landscape, according to a team of researchers who believe that molecular hydrogen made it warm enough for water to flow.

The presence of molecular hydrogen, in addition to carbon dioxide and water, could have created a greenhouse effect on Mars 3.8 billion years ago that pushed temperatures high enough to allow for liquid water, the researchers state in the current issue of Nature Geoscience.

The team includes Ramses M. Ramirez, a doctoral student working with James Kasting, Evan Pugh Professor of Geosciences, Penn State.

Previous efforts to produce temperatures warm enough to allow for liquid water used climate models that include only carbon dioxide and water and were unsuccessful. The researchers used a model to show that an atmosphere with sufficient carbon dioxide, water and hydrogen could have made the surface temperatures of Mars warm to above freezing. Those above-freezing temperatures would allow liquid water to flow across the Martian surface over 3.8 billion years ago and form the ancient valley networks, such as Nanedi Valles, much the way sections of the Grand Canyon snake across the western United States today.

"This is exciting because explaining how early Mars could have been warm and wet enough to form the ancient valleys had scientists scratching their heads for the past 30 years," said Ramirez. "We think we may have a credible solution to this great mystery."

The researchers note that one alternative theory is that the Martian valleys formed after large meteorites bombarded the planet, generating steam atmospheres that then rained out. But this mechanism cannot produce the large volumes of water thought necessary to carve the valleys.

"We think that there is no way to form the ancient valleys with any of the alternate cold early Mars models," said Ramirez. "However, the problem with selling a warm early Mars is that nobody had been able to put forth a feasible mechanism in the past three decades. So, we hope that our results will get people to reconsider their positions."

Ramirez and post-doctoral researcher Ravi Kopparapu co-developed a one-dimensional climate model to demonstrate the possibility that the gas levels from volcanic activity could have created enough hydrogen and carbon dioxide to form a greenhouse and raise temperatures sufficiently to allow for liquid water. Once they developed the model, Ramirez ran the model using new hydrogen absorption data and used it to recreate the conditions on early Mars, a time when the sun was about 30 percent less bright than it is today.

"It's kind of surprising to think that Mars could have been warm and wet because at the time the sun was much dimmer," Ramirez said.

Mars' mantle appears to be more reduced than Earth's, based on evidence from Shergotty, Nahkla, and Chassigny meteorites, Martian meteorites named for the towns near which they were found. A more reduced mantle outgasses more hydrogen relative to water, thus bolstering the hydrogen greenhouse effect.

"The hydrogen molecule is symmetric and appears to be quite boring by itself," said Ramirez. "However, other background gases, such as carbon dioxide, can perturb it and get it to function as a powerful greenhouse gas at wavelengths where carbon dioxide and water don't absorb too strongly. So, hydrogen fills in the gaps left by the other two greenhouse gases."


'/>"/>

Contact: A'ndrea Elyse Messer
aem1@psu.edu
814-865-9481
Penn State
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Science surprise: Toxic protein made in unusual way may explain brain disorder
2. Unusual symbiosis discovered in marine microorganisms
3. New forensic institute at the University of Leicester will help police forces solve unusual crimes
4. Unusual weather events identified during the Black Saturday bushfires
5. NPL and Astrium launch measurement service to improve analysis of greenhouse gas emissions
6. Companies close to reusing the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide
7. QUT develops software to reduce greenhouse gases
8. Sediment trapped behind dams makes them hot spots for greenhouse gas emissions
9. Greenhouse gas likely altering ocean foodchain
10. 21 percent of homes account for 50 percent of greenhouse gas emissions
11. Major rethink needed if chemical industry is to meet greenhouse gas targets
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Unusual greenhouse gases may have raised ancient Martian temperature
(Date:9/8/2019)... , ... September 06, 2019 ... ... disrupter and leading supplier of innovative human mesenchymal stem/stromal cell (hMSC) biomanufacturing ... umbilical cord (hUC) MSC paired cell and media system designed for product ...
(Date:8/29/2019)... ... 2019 , ... Advancements with Ted Danson announced today that ... which is scheduled to broadcast 1Q/2020. Check local listings for more information. , ... solutions for the treatment of patients suffering from spinal disorders. Traveling behind-the-scenes to ...
(Date:8/27/2019)... ... August 26, 2019 , ... Shoreline Biome , a microbiome research company ... Bill McKenzie as its CEO and Karen Woodward as its VP of Business Development. ... demand for its products and expand the company’s sales worldwide. , Prior to joining ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:9/17/2019)... ... , ... Tucker, a Labrador retriever, was just a puppy when he began ... lame on his right hip and elbow. At one year of age, Tucker was ... the vet had seen.” He was prescribed pain medications, both oral and injectable, as ...
(Date:9/17/2019)... ... September 16, 2019 , ... A ... Saturday, September 21st @11:00am ET. Check local listings for more information on this ... Biomedical), a molecular diagnostic company from Singapore dedicated to developing advanced diagnostic technologies ...
(Date:9/11/2019)... (PRWEB) , ... September 10, 2019 , ... ... broadcast 1Q/2020 will educate about the latest developments in genome sequencing analysis. Check ... about the innovation taking place at Rivermap Research & Consulting and will explore ...
(Date:9/8/2019)... ... September 05, 2019 , ... ... former Vice President of Finance for Shopify, has been named Chief Financial Officer. ... venture capitalist Joel Finlayson as strategic advisors. Additionally, Spartan has hired Steve Edgett ...
Breaking Biology Technology: