Start Date

5-2020 12:00 AM

Description

Gypsum (CaSO4 · 2H2O) and mirabilite (Na2SO4 · 10H2O) are common precipitates at the Great Salt Lake (GSL). NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover, Opportunity, found veins of gypsum deposited by water in 2011 and gypsum has been detected on Mars as early as 2005 by the ESA’s Mars Express Orbiter. On Earth, gypsum is formed in hypersaline environments, in minerals left behind when water evaporates, trapping microorganisms in fluid inclusions. Likewise, GSL mirabilite develops when mineral-rich groundwater meets cold winter air to create crystalline structures. While there is no physical evidence of mirabilite on Mars, HiRISE Image data show white mounds that some experts hypothesize are related to saline ground waters. Gypsum obtained from Great Salt Lake was used to develop a method to extract halophilic archaea and culture it in the lab. The method obtained could be used to isolate potential microorganisms present in gypsum samples from Mars. Mirabilite is currently under investigation for its ability to enrich halophilic life.

Comments

Due to COVID-19, the Symposium was not able to be held this year. However, papers and posters were still submitted.

Available for download on Saturday, May 01, 2021

Included in

Physics Commons

Share

COinS
 
May 1st, 12:00 AM

Mineralogy of Great Salt Lake: An Analogue for Martian Evaporites

Gypsum (CaSO4 · 2H2O) and mirabilite (Na2SO4 · 10H2O) are common precipitates at the Great Salt Lake (GSL). NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover, Opportunity, found veins of gypsum deposited by water in 2011 and gypsum has been detected on Mars as early as 2005 by the ESA’s Mars Express Orbiter. On Earth, gypsum is formed in hypersaline environments, in minerals left behind when water evaporates, trapping microorganisms in fluid inclusions. Likewise, GSL mirabilite develops when mineral-rich groundwater meets cold winter air to create crystalline structures. While there is no physical evidence of mirabilite on Mars, HiRISE Image data show white mounds that some experts hypothesize are related to saline ground waters. Gypsum obtained from Great Salt Lake was used to develop a method to extract halophilic archaea and culture it in the lab. The method obtained could be used to isolate potential microorganisms present in gypsum samples from Mars. Mirabilite is currently under investigation for its ability to enrich halophilic life.