Michalski, JR, EZ Noe Dobrea, P.B. Niles and J. Cuadros. Ancient hydrothermal seafloor deposits in Eridania basin on Mars, 2017, Nature Communications, 8, 15978
The Eridania region in the southern highlands of Mars once contained a vast inland sea with a volume of water greater than that of all other Martian lakes combined. Here we show that the most ancient materials within Eridania are thick (>400 m), massive (not bedded), mottled deposits containing saponite, talc-saponite, Fe-rich mica (for example, glauconite-nontronite), Fe- and Mg-serpentine, Mg-Fe-Ca-carbonate and probable Fe-sulphide that likely formed in a deep water (500–1,500 m) hydrothermal setting. The Eridania basin occurs within some of the most ancient terrain on Mars where striking evidence for remnant magnetism might suggest an early phase of crustal spreading. The relatively well-preserved seafloor hydrothermal deposits in Eridania are contemporaneous with the earliest evidence for life on Earth in potentially similar environments 3.8 billion years ago, and might provide an invaluable window into the environmental conditions of early Earth.