publication . Article . 2008

Xenological constraints on the impact erosion of the early Martian atmosphere

Kevin Zahnle;
Open Access
  • Published: 06 Feb 2008
The roughly uniform hundredfold depletion of observable Martian atmophiles (nonradiogenic noble gases and reconstituted nitrogen) with respect to Earth implies that Mars lost its atmosphere by a relatively efficient, nonfractionating process. Impact erosion (expulsion of atmosphere by impacts) is an appealing candidate. Noble gases can be used to test this hypothesis. Xenon in particular can be used to impose three constraints on how Mars lost its atmosphere: its very low abundance compared to Earth, Venus, and likely meteoritic sources; its distinctive isotopic composition compared to likely meteoritic sources; and the relatively high absolute abundance of radi...
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free text keywords: Paleontology, Space and Planetary Science, Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous), Atmospheric Science, Earth-Surface Processes, Geochemistry and Petrology, Soil Science, Water Science and Technology, Ecology, Aquatic Science, Forestry, Oceanography, Geophysics, Regolith, Atmosphere, Mars Exploration Program, Martian, Astrobiology, Radiogenic nuclide, Extinct radionuclide, Atmosphere of Mars, Earth science, Geology, Impact crater
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