Scientists have estimated the age of Mars crust by studying zircons found within the Martian meteorite NWA 7533. Age of crust of red plant is found to be about 4.43 million years.
The meteorite NWA (North West Africa) 7533 was discovered by Bedouin tribesmen in the Sahara desert. It is chemically similar to Martian soil analyzed by Martian Rovers that enables the researchers to study the Martian crustal processes and conditions.
Researchers studied the Martian soil properties in the lab and found that the Martian soil is rich source of magnetic materials and is sticky in nature.
“As it turns out the crust is very old – about 4,430 million years old, which means that everything was happening very fast in the beginning on Mars,” said Dr Alexander Nemchin from Curtin University, one of the co-authors of the paper.
“A little bit more than 100 million years after the formation of the Solar System, Mars was a fully evolved planet, with a differentiated crust and a very complex range of magmatic and atmospheric processes. This research shows that if Mars could evolve very quickly, perhaps Earth did the same.”
Researchers have suggested that the meteorite came from a wetter Mars of the past as the meteorite has been depleted in the water-soluble elements sulfur, chlorine and zinc.
“This rock would hold further clues to the impact history of Mars, and the possibility of the presence of an early biosphere,” Dr Nemchin said.
“This report is the tip of the iceberg of what the exciting continuing study of this meteorite will uncover.”
Meteoritic Zircons Help Determine Age of Martian Crust: 4.43 Billion Years – Sci-News (http://goo.gl/i12Cyf)
M. Humayun et al. (2013). Origin and age of the earliest Martian crust from meteorite NWA 7533 Nature DOI: 10.1038/nature12764