© Copyright © 2019 Rock & Gem Magazine. “Is it widespread or is it localized pockets within the rock? In 1998, an infrared spectrometer on NASA's Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) spacecraft detected a substantial deposit of gray hematite near the Martian equator, in a 500 km-wide region called Sinus Meridiani. Hematite (Fe2O3) is the most common and most important of the several iron oxides. There are many signs of ancient or hidden water on the Red Planet including flash-flood gullies, sedimentary layers ... and hematite. Gray hematite has the same chemical formula (Fe2O3) as its rusty-red cousin, but a different crystalline structure. Plus, just a few decades ago, the North Polar region of Russia began to yield superb hematite rosettes very much like the Swiss specimens, along with axinite and gwindel quartz twins. They range in size from under an inch to several inches across, often with bright red rutile crystals sprinkled on shiny black crystal faces. Hematite has been our most important source of iron for the past centuries, but to King Tut, iron was a virtual unknown. Hematite minerals, on the other hand, might have been formed by hydrothermal water deep underground. Holds the Carnegie Mineralogical Award, is a member of the Rockhound Hall of Fame, and has been writing for Rock & Gem since its inception. “I think it’s a good lesson in how powerful it is to have a full Mars program that combines orbital missions with rover missions. Today the hematite and pyrite specimens from the Island of Elba, Italy, are considered classics. Few exceptional crystallized hematite specimens have come from the mines of the Mesabi Range. Lovely, tiny hematite blades in tight clusters on the matrix are common in this part of the world. © 2020 Brown University. Farther north is the hematite deposits of Mador Pror, Morocco, where fine bladed crystals are relative newcomers in the mineral market. And there may be no better place to find out than Sinus Meridiani, where the lure of hematite is powerful indeed. Of many candidate landing sites for NASA's 2003 Mars Exploration Rovers, the Sinus Meridiani region is one of the most intriguing to scientists. Opportunity found grey hematite in sphere-like grains in Meridiani Planum. It also gave way to fine hematite, fluorite, and limestone quarry collecting sites. Martian soil is full of iron-bearing compounds that, over the eons, have reacted with trace amounts of oxygen and water vapor in Mars' atmosphere to form iron oxide -- the same chemical that covers innumerable rusty nails in garages and workshops on Earth. Though hematite is made of iron and oxygen, it is not magnetic when pure. But how did that result in the huge hematite iron deposits we mine today? Curiosity’s first bite of those rocks, taken with the rover’s hammering drill and analyzed by the Chemistry and Mineralogy (CheMin) instrument, showed that hematite accounts for as much as 8 percent of the sample. They are lustrous and sharp in well-formed crystals. as a dominant civilization because they had developed a metal harder than bronze: iron. This sedimentary deposit contains miles and miles of banded hematite and related iron compounds in layer after layer that is hundreds of feet thick. Mars is called the Red Planet because of the proven presence of its iron oxide surface derived from hematite. Surely, given its many crystal forms, multiple sources, and the impact it has had on civilization, every collector should make hematite a very worthy and often very showy addition to a collection. Then the Hittites, an advanced people of the Near East, emerged in the 18th century B.C. But superb fluorite, calcite, pyrite, celestine, and a host of other species have. Red rust is fine and powdery; typical grains are hundreds of nanometers to a few microns across. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. He lectures about minerals, and has written several books and video scripts. CALYMENE celebra — The Pride of Wisconsin Fossils, Stones That Speak: Corundum Calls to Record-Holding Gem Carver, Rockhounding Roadtrip: Take the time to Detect Quartz. "It turns out that all materials vibrate at the atomic scale," explains Hamilton. When these forests died, they became thick layers of rotting and compressed vegetation that eventually formed huge deposits of coal. These are actually composed of spherules of hematite needles, which form radiating knobs that interfere with each other to form the undulating smooth surface of mammillary specimens. For example, TES would not have detected the carbonate layers in Earth's Grand Canyon, but THEMIS would. Gray hematite crystals are larger, like grains of sand. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. Until someone finds signs of carbonates or sulfates on Mars, perhaps in some future THEMIS image, gray hematite remains the best known mineral signpost for ancient Martian water. It certainly did not form from the welling up of hydrothermal intrusion of complex iron compounds as so many metal deposits have. Another interesting thing about hematite is the variety of associated names. “I started analyzing data from CRISM right after I got my Ph.D. from Brown, and we’ve had a number of graduate students from Brown write their theses based on CRISM data.”. But it can fool you because it can contain a little magnetite, which, as discussed earlier, is the magnetic form of iron oxide. In another part of the world, the great iron and copper mines of Cumberland, now Cumbria, England, certainly met the needs of the British Industrial Revolution. It is not unusual for a collector to choose one species like quartz, calcite, or smithsonite and specialize in that one species. It so happens that those same warm ocean waters were rich in iron. When crushed to a powder, normally black hematite exhibits a lovely red color. Hematite as a single collectible mineral is fun because of its many variations of crystal forms and worldwide sources. Every mineral has a unique infrared spectrum that identifies it as surely as the fingerprints of a human being, she added. Some of them, like carbonates, would also indicate that standing bodies of water were present on the surface." Countries including Brazil, Africa, Australia, Russia, and within the U.S. – including the Midwest and Alabama – specifically have vast deposits of iron oxide. English miners even took to calling it kidney ore. Martian equivalent Yellowstone National Park, Mars Global Surveyor Thermal Emission Spectrometer, Researchers Pinpoint Region Responsible for Mars Heyday. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Hematite locked in greenish silica as visible red spots are often called bloodstone. It’s not uncommon for these species to command high prices, as the rosettes are undoubtedly the most popular hematite crystal specimens. Providence, Rhode Island 02912, USA In addition, when included with other minerals, hematite’s lovely red color is even more apparent. THEMIS will be able to discern the mineral content of geological features only 100 meters across, compared to 3 km for TES. PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — The Curiosity rover’s first drill sample from the foothills of a Martian mountain has detected substantial amounts of hematite, an iron oxide mineral that could help scientists piece together the ancient environment in Curiosity’s Gale Crater landing site. It can also form velvety needle coatings and long curving splintery shapes. THEMIS is a "next-generation" instrument that can capture sharper images than TES, the Thermal Emission Spectrometer that is orbiting Mars now aboard Mars Global Surveyor. Cyanobacteria is a simple-celled, organic form that evolved in the warm, shallow seas billions of years ago.
finding hematite on mars is important because:
finding hematite on mars is important because:
October 28, 2020