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Simulating weathering of basalt on Mars and Earth by thermal cycling

Viles, Heather and Ehlmann, Bethany and Wilson, Colin F. and Cebula, Tomasz and Page, Mark and Bourke, Mary (2010) Simulating weathering of basalt on Mars and Earth by thermal cycling. Geophysical Research Letters, 37 . Art. No. L18201. ISSN 0094-8276.

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Physical weathering induced by heating and cooling may cause rock breakdown on Mars and Earth. We report results from parallel weathering simulations on basalt blocks exposed to diurnal cycles representing Mars-like (two simulation runs from −55 to +20 oC and −75 to +10 oC, 1–100% relative humidity, 4–8 mbar pressure, CO_2 atmosphere) and hot arid Earth (23–72o C, 30–100% relative humidity) conditions. Under Earth conditions, thermally pre-stressed blocks showed measurable strength declines, whilst salt pre-treated blocks showed strength gains. Under Mars-like conditions, pre-stressed blocks recorded greater or similar strength declines and salt pre-treated blocks showed more muted strength declines than under Earth conditions. The results imply that on Earth and Mars diurnal cycling of temperature alone can cause deterioration of basalt with a pre-existing stress history. The type of stress history is important, with salt pre-treatment affecting the response of thermally pre-stressed blocks under both Earth and Mars conditions.

Item Type:Article
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Ehlmann, Bethany0000-0002-2745-3240
Additional Information:© 2010 American Geophysical Union. Received 25 April 2010; accepted 28 July 2010; published 22 September 2010. We thank RockUnique for supplying the basalt, Lisa Mol and David Banfield for laboratory assistance, and Neil Bowles for useful discussions. The work was in part supported by NASA through Planetary Geology and Geophysics grant NNX08AM40G.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NASA Planetary Geology and GeophysicsNNX08AM40G
Subject Keywords:weathering; basalt; experiment
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20121016-093655210
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Official Citation:Viles, H., B. Ehlmann, C. F. Wilson, T. Cebula, M. Page, and M. Bourke (2010), Simulating weathering of basalt on Mars and Earth by thermal cycling, Geophys. Res. Lett., 37, L18201, doi:10.1029/2010GL043522.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:34914
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:16 Oct 2012 17:59
Last Modified:09 Mar 2020 13:18

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