9:20 AM - 9:40 AM
[MIS07-07] Organic Matter Preserved in Mudstones of a 3-Billion-Year-Old Lake Deposit in Gale Crater, Mars
Keywords:Mars, organic matter, lacustrine, Curiosity rover, Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission, Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM)
The release of organic-sulfur compounds occurs at high temperatures in the SAM oven; thus, these compounds are most likely derived from sulfurized organics in the sediments and are not an artifact of sulfurization reactions in the oven. On Earth, sulfurization is a key process that facilitates organic matter preservation over geological time-scales by transforming individual organic molecules into recalcitrant macromolecules. Organic matter at the base of the Murray formation probably underwent sulfurization prior to deposition or during early diagenesis. Multiple factors likely contribute to the organic preservation in the Gale crater mudstones, however, sulfurization may be largely responsible for the greater abundance and the molecular diversity observed in the lower Murray formation.