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Adv Space Res. 1999;24(4):477-88.

The origin of organic matter in the Martian meteorite ALH84001.

Author information

1
Hawaii Institute of Geophysics and Planetology, Honolulu 96822, USA.
2
U CA San Diego, La Jolla

Abstract

Stable carbon isotope measurements of the organic matter associated with the carbonate globules and the bulk matrix material in the ALH84001 Martian meteorite indicate that two distinct sources are present in the sample. The delta 13C values for the organic matter associated with the carbonate globules averaged -26% and is attributed to terrestrial contamination. In contrast, the delta 13C values for the organic matter associated with the bulk matrix material yielded a value of -15%. The only common carbon sources on the Earth that yield similar delta 13C values, other then some diagenetically altered marine carbonates, are C4 plants. A delta 13C value of -15%, on the other hand, is consistent with a kerogen-like component, the most ubiquitous form of organic matter found in carbonaceous chondrites such as the Murchison meteorite. Examination of the carbonate globules and bulk matrix material using laser desorption mass spectrometry (LDMS) indicates the presence of a high molecular weight organic component which appears to be extraterrestrial in origin, possibly derived from the exogenous delivery of meteoritic or cometary debris to the surface of Mars.

PMID:
11543335
DOI:
10.1016/s0273-1177(99)00090-3
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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