Carbonate Rocks on Mars?

Below is a portion of a post on The Planetary Society Blog, concerning carbonate rocks on the surface of Mars.  The article was prompted by a paper in Science magazine concerning the finding of a single 5 meter outcrop of carbonate rock by the NASA Spirit rover.  See http://www.planetary.org/blog/article/00002540/
Carbonate rocks should be all over Mars. Mars’ atmosphere is mostly carbon dioxide, and there is clear evidence for past water acting to modify its surface. If you have liquid water under an atmosphere of carbon dioxide it’s actually kind of hard, chemically speaking, not to make carbonate rocks.
But it’s been hard to find carbonates, surprisingly so. It’s not that they’re totally absent; they make up a couple of percent of the weight of Martian meteorites (usually found as crystals precipitated within fractures within the rock). And there’s one spot on Mars, Nili Fossae, where spectroscopists are pretty sure that carbonate minerals crop out at the surface, but they can’t tell how much of the rock the carbonates make up there. But we should really see carbonate as a major component of substantial quantities of Martian rock, and we just don’t.
The reason that these rocks are not present is that although large areas of the planet were covered with water, even in the last 6,000 years, the atmosphere was similar to that of the Earth today – not primarily carbon dioxide.  As the encounters between it and the Earth progressed, both the water and the atmosphere was drawn across the ~37,643 km to the Earth.  At the same time volcanos flared and quaking was continuous on both planets. The complete transformation of Mars to a desolate, arid wasteland occurred in only 3,000 years – instantaneously on a geologic time scale.
Planetary scientists, who are still blissfully unaware of the recent cyclic catastrophism, date the water on Mars late in the Noachian epoch, 4.5 to 3.5 billion years ago.  The small amount of oxygen that remained on the planet after the cyclic encounters with the Earth combined with iron to form oxides and peroxides on the surface, producing its reddish color, or with hydrogen to form water, which froze out on the surface in the icy cold so distant from the Sun.  The recent thin carbon dioxide atmosphere is all that remains.
The use of the terms “should be” and “should really see” in the quoted blog are inappropriate.  It reminds me of a NASA spokesperson in years gone by who wrote that a satellite of Neptune was “not where it was supposed to be.”  A more appropriate version would be “if our hypothesis were correct, we would expect …”.  When are they ever going to wake up and accept the fact that their entire uniformitarian paradigm is incorrect.

~ by Angiras on August 2, 2010.

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