Hydrothermal hydration of Martian crust: Illustration via geochemical model calculations

Laura L. Griffith, Everett L. Shock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


If hydrothermal systems existed on Mars, hydration of crustal rocks may have had the potential to affect the water budget of the planet. We have conducted geochemical model calculations to investigate the relative roles of host rock composition, temperature, water-to-rock ratio, and initial fluid oxygen fugacity on the mineralogy of hydrothermal alteration assemblages, as well as the effectiveness of alteration to store water in the crust as hydrous minerals. In order to place calculations for Mars in perspective, models of hydrothermal alteration of three genetically related Icelandic volcanics (a basalt, andesite, and rhyolite) are presented, together with results for compositions based on SNC meteorite samples (Shergotty and Chassigny). Temperatures from 150°C to 250°C, water-to-rock ratios from 0.1 to 1000, and two initial fluid oxygen fugacities are considered in the models. Model results for water-to-rock ratios less than 10 are emphasized because they are likely to be more applicable to Mars. In accord with studies of low-grade alteration of terrestrial rocks, we find that the major controls on hydrous mineral production are host rock composition and temperature. Over the range of conditions considered, the alteration of Shergotty shows the greatest potential for storing water as hydrous minerals, and the alteration of Icelandic rhyolite has the lowest potential.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number96JE02939
Pages (from-to)9135-9143
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Planets
Issue numberE4
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Alkyl nitrate nitration
  • Ion cyclotron resonance
  • Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization
  • Methyl nitrate
  • Molecular ion
  • Negative ions
  • Radial velocity distribution
  • Resonance-stabilized anions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Oceanography
  • General Environmental Science
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences
  • General Medicine


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