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The Potential for Biologically Catalyzed Anaerobic Methane Oxidation on Ancient Mars

Marlow, Jeffrey J. and LaRowe, Douglas E. and Ehlmann, Bethany L. and Amend, Jan P. and Orphan, Victoria J. (2014) The Potential for Biologically Catalyzed Anaerobic Methane Oxidation on Ancient Mars. Astrobiology, 14 (4). pp. 292-307. ISSN 1557-8070. https://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechAUTHORS:20140408-093723442

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Abstract

This study examines the potential for the biologically mediated anaerobic oxidation of methane (AOM) coupled to sulfate reduction on ancient Mars. Seven distinct fluids representative of putative martian groundwater were used to calculate Gibbs energy values in the presence of dissolved methane under a range of atmospheric CO_2 partial pressures. In all scenarios, AOM is exergonic, ranging from −31 to −135 kJ/mol CH_4. A reaction transport model was constructed to examine how environmentally relevant parameters such as advection velocity, reactant concentrations, and biomass production rate affect the spatial and temporal dependences of AOM reaction rates. Two geologically supported models for ancient martian AOM are presented: a sulfate-rich groundwater with methane produced from serpentinization by-products, and acid-sulfate fluids with methane from basalt alteration. The simulations presented in this study indicate that AOM could have been a feasible metabolism on ancient Mars, and fossil or isotopic evidence of this metabolic pathway may persist beneath the surface and in surface exposures of eroded ancient terrains.


Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/ast.2013.1078DOIArticle
http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/ast.2013.1078PublisherArticle
ORCID:
AuthorORCID
Orphan, Victoria J.0000-0002-5374-6178
Additional Information:© 2014 Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. Submitted 22 July 2013; Accepted 16 February 2014; Online Ahead of Print: March 31, 2014. J.J.M. would like to thank Dawn Cardace, Andrew Dale, and Megan Newcombe for helpful discussion and consultation and the NETL-National Academy of Sciences Methane Hydrate Research Fellowship for financial support. D.E.L. and J.P.A. would like to acknowledge financial support from the Life Underground NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI) based at USC. V.J.O. acknowledges the Penn State Astrobiology Research Center NAI.
Funders:
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NETL-National Academy of Sciences Methane Hydrate Research FellowshipUNSPECIFIED
Life Underground NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI)UNSPECIFIED
Penn State Astrobiology Research Center NAIUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:Mars; Methanotrophy; Methane
Issue or Number:4
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20140408-093723442
Persistent URL:https://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechAUTHORS:20140408-093723442
Official Citation:Marlow Jeffrey J., LaRowe Douglas E., Ehlmann Bethany L., Amend Jan P., and Orphan Victoria J. Astrobiology, ahead of print. doi:10.1089/ast.2013.1078
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:44740
Collection:CaltechAUTHORS
Deposited By: Jason Perez
Deposited On:08 Apr 2014 17:53
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 06:21

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