Impact Induced Oxidation and Its Implications for Early Mars Climate

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H2 in a CO2 atmosphere may serve as a potential solution to the early Mars climate paradox, but its unknown sources cast doubts on the proposed mechanism. Impact cratering is an energetic process that may modify the surface redox budget. Here, we investigate the potential influence of impact-related melt oxidation and serpentinization on global climate conditions. We show that impact melt and the projectile's significant oxidizing potential during basin-forming impacts (Basin size ≥1,250 km) result in sufficient H2 to raise the global mean temperature to above 273K, which lasts for up to 105 − 106 yr considering rate-limited regime. Impact-induced serpentinization has limited consequences on the global climate in comparison. Episodic warming after large impacts may have enabled the presence of liquid water for up to several million years in the Noachian, resulting in the chemical evolution of the planet's surface co-evolving with the planetary atmosphere in an episodic manner.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2023GL102724
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number6
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023. The Authors.

    Research areas

  • impact melt, Mars climate, serpentinization

ID: 344797695