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“Martian blueberries” find a parallel in India

What is the News?

According to Researchers from Planetary Sciences Division of Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmedabad the Blueberries in India and “Martian Blueberries” share similar characteristics.

What are Martian Blueberries?
  • Martian blueberries are small spherical haematites.  The Mars rover “Opportunity” discovered them in 2004 on the planet Mars.
What are these Martian blueberries made up of?
  • As per the study of the mineralogy of the Martian Blueberries they were made of iron oxide compounds called haematites.
  • These haematites are known to form in oxidising environments through precipitation from aqueous fluids (water like fluid). Hence, the presence of haematites suggests that water was present on Mars.
  • Further, the Haematites on Mars not just show the presence of water. It also indicates that the planet had an atmosphere with oxygen as haematites need oxygen to stabilise.
  • However, the age of the ‘blueberries’ on Mars is not known yet. Therefore, studies from the newly landed Perseverance rover of NASA may help find new clues and signs of life to get a detailed picture of the history of Mars.
Are there any similar Haematite concentrations places on Earth?
  • Researchers from India have been studying the Jhuran formation in Kutch, Gujarat. The formation is between 145 and 201 million years old.
  • The detailed investigations of the haematite concretions in this area revealed that they resemble the Martian Blueberries. They have similar morphology – spherical and similar mineralogy – a mixture of haematite and goethite.
  • Further, it has been also argued that the transformation of Mars from the wet and humid to dry and arid environment is mimicked by the history of Kutch in Gujarat.
  • Hence, the Kutch area could also be a potential testing site for carrying out future Mars exploration studies on Earth.

Source: The Hindu

 

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