16:43 23 October 2013
Researchers say that a 4.5cm meteorite, which was discovered in 1931 after it plummeted to earth about 3,000 years ago, has revealed clues as to how Mars became a cold, rocky desert and how it lost its thick, carbon dioxide-rich atmosphere.
In the report that they published in Nature Communications, they say that carbonation may be the key factor. This is a natural process that occurs on Earth and some believe that it could be the technique for mitigating climate change.
Lead author Dr Tim Tomkinson, of Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre (SUERC) said: "Carbonation could be the main force that turned Mars to stone,"
"We can't say for certain it's the dominant cause - the loss of Mars' magnetic field may also have led to the stripping of its atmosphere by the solar wind. And CO2 is also frozen in the poles of Mars.
"But carbonates do seem to be very abundant on the Martian surface."
He added: "From our analysis of the meteorite, it seems that carbonation occurs in certain orientations - we see amazing saw-tooth edges, all lining up.”
"It could be for example that if you wanted to frack rocks and introduce CO2 you should do it from a certain angle.
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