Spectroscopic Identification of Carbonate Minerals in the Martian Dust

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Science  22 Aug 2003:
Vol. 301, Issue 5636, pp. 1084-1087
DOI: 10.1126/science.1088054

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Thermal infrared spectra of the martian surface indicate the presence of small concentrations (∼2 to 5 weight %) of carbonates, specifically dominated by magnesite (MgCO3). The carbonates are widely distributed in the martian dust, and there is no indication of a concentrated source. The presence of small concentrations of carbonate minerals in the surface dust and in martian meteorites can sequester several bars of atmospheric carbon dioxide and may have been an important sink for a thicker carbon dioxide atmosphere in the martian past.

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