Halogen and Cl isotopic systematics in Martian phosphates: Implications for the Cl cycle and surface halogen reservoirs on Mars

J. J. Bellucci*, M. J. Whitehouse, T. John, A. A. Nemchin, J. F. Snape, P. A. Bland, G. K. Benedix

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

The Cl isotopic compositions and halogen (Cl, F, Br, and I) abundances in phosphates from eight Martian meteorites, spanning most rock types and ages currently available, have been measured in situ by Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (SIMS). Likewise, the distribution of halogens has been documented by x-ray mapping. Halogen concentrations range over several orders of magnitude up to some of the largest concentrations yet measured in Martian samples or on the Martian surface, and the inter-element ratios are highly variable. Similarly, Cl isotope compositions exhibit a larger range than all pristine terrestrial igneous rocks. Phosphates in ancient (>4 Ga) meteorites (orthopyroxenite ALH 84001 and breccia NWA 7533) have positive δ37Cl anomalies (+1.1 to +2.5‰). These samples also exhibit explicit whole rock and grain scale evidence for hydrothermal or aqueous activity. In contrast, the phosphates in the younger basaltic Shergottite meteorites (<600 Ma) have negative δ37Cl anomalies (−0.2 to −5.6‰). Phosphates with the largest negative δ37Cl anomalies display zonation in which the rims of the grains are enriched in all halogens and have significantly more negative δ37Cl anomalies suggestive of interaction with the surface of Mars during the latest stages of basalt crystallization. The phosphates with no textural, major element, or halogen enrichment evidence for mixing with this surface reservoir have an average δ37Cl of −0.6‰, supporting a similar initial Cl isotope composition for Mars, the Earth, and the Moon. Oxidation and reduction of chlorine are the only processes known to strongly fractionate Cl isotopes, both positively and negatively, and perchlorate has been detected in weight percent concentrations on the Martian surface. The age range and obvious mixing history of the phosphates studied here suggest perchlorate formation and halogen cycling via brines, which have been documented on the Martian surface, has been active throughout Martian history.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)192-202
Number of pages11
JournalEarth and Planetary Science Letters
Volume458
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2017
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Cl isotopes
  • halogen cycle
  • Mars
  • photochemistry
  • SIMS
  • water cycle

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