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They determined that some of the water lost on Mars could be trapped in clay minerals hidden kilometers below the surface.

They determined that some of the water lost on Mars could be trapped in clay minerals hidden kilometers below the surface.


14 dic 2021 23:34 GMT

Despite the fact that until now it was believed that all the water on the Red Planet is currently frozen at the polar caps and as underground ice, researchers assure that some of it can be buried at a depth of several kilometers with minerals.

Researchers from Binghamton University (New York, USA) argue that a study Recently, a lot of water on Mars could be trapped inside clay minerals, known as smectite and located miles below the surface.

in a Release Scientists published this Tuesday, indicating that there is evidence that rivers and lakes formed on the surface of Mars at one time, however, today there is no trace of water remaining on its surface.

David Jenkins, Professor of Geosciences and Environmental Studies at Binghamton University, and former graduate student Brittany DePasquale discovered that smectite is rich in phytonutrients. iron, the least thermally stable, capable of forming at depths up to 30 km It can store the water lost from the Red Planet. On Earth, smectite usually occurs as a result of an interaction between rock and water, although the conditions for such a reaction are still poorly defined.

“Until recently, many people, including myself, assumed that water once on Mars was now present as ice stored at the polar caps and as ice underground,” Jenkins said, explaining that over the past few years the satellites have been orbiting About the planet I gathered enough information to determine it That’s not enough Neither the current amount of ice nor the loss of vapor to be responsible for the disappearance of “the lowest estimates of the amount of water present on Mars”.

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“Once we saw that ferrous smectite, the least thermally stable form of smectite, was stable up to temperatures About 600 °C at a depth of 30 km“It was clear that smectite could in fact be an important deposit of ‘lost water’ on the surface of Mars,” said the expert, who performed the necessary tests in his laboratory.

However, Jenkins and DePasquale’s theory cannot be proven at the moment, since there is no equipment capable of adequately drilling the planet’s surface. “The more difficult question, about the total amount of clay minerals at the surface or in the environment near the surface of Mars, has yet to be determined with the precision needed to really confirm that clay minerals could be The dominant water tank on Mars“The world lamented.