The large radius, and therefore low density, of the Martian core found in the InSight mission data analysis highlights the importance of considering other light elements besides sulfur (S), which has been considered as the main light element for Mars for decades. Hydrogen (H) is abundant in the solar system and becomes siderophile at high pressures. Although Fe-S and Fe-H systems have been studied individually, the Fe-S-H ternary system has only been investigated up to 16 GPa and 1723 K. We have investigated the Fe-S-H system at pressures and temperatures (P-T) relevant to the cores of Mars-sized planets (up to 45 GPa and well above the melting temperature of FeS) in the laser-heated diamond anvil cell combined with in situ synchrotron X-ray diffraction. We found that sufficient hydrogen leads to the disappearance of Fe3S at high P-T. Instead, separate Fe-H and Fe-S phases appear at 23–35 GPa. At pressures above 35 GPa, we found a new phase appearing while Fe-S phases disappear and Fe-H phases remain. Our analysis indicates that the new phase likely contains both S and H in the crystal structure (tentatively FeSxHy where x ≈ 1 and y ≈ 1). The observed pressure-dependent changes in the phase relation may be important for understanding the structure and dynamics of the Martian core and the cores of Mars-sized exoplanets.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geochemistry and Petrology
- Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
- Space and Planetary Science