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Volume 28, Issue 1


Mineralized biosignatures in ALH-77005 Shergottite - Clues to Martian Life?

Ildikó Gyollai
  • Corresponding author
  • Institute for Geological and Geochemical Research, Research Centre for Astronomy and Earth Sciences, Geobiomineralization and Astrobiology Working Group, HAS, H-1112 Budapest, Budaörsi u. 45, Hungary gyildi@gmail.com
  • Email
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Márta Polgári
  • Institute for Geological and Geochemical Research, Research Centre for Astronomy and Earth Sciences, Geobiomineral- ization and Astrobiology Working Group, HAS, H-1112 Budapest, Budaórsi u. 45, Hungary
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Szaniszló Bérczi
  • Eötvös University, Dept. of Materials Physics, Cosmic Materials Space Res. Group, H-1117 Budapest, Pázmány P. str. 1/a, Hungary
  • Email
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Arnold Gucsik
  • Eszterházy Károly University, Dept. of Natural Geography and Geoinformatics, 3300 Eger, Leányka str. 6, Hungary; Wigner Research Centre for Physics, HAS, 1121 Budapest, Konkoly-Thege M. str. 29-33, Hungary; University of Johannesburg, Department of Geology, 2600 Auckland Park, Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Email
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Elemér Pál-Molnár
Published Online: 2019-04-03 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/astro-2019-0002


The ALH-77005 Martian meteorite was found in Allan Hills on Antarctica during the Japanese National Institute of Polar Research (1977-1978) mission. One thin section sample was studied by optical microscopy for microtexture and by FTIR-ATR microscopy for interpretation of biogenic minerals and embedded organic materials. The geochemical data (biogenic elements, δ13C) of ALH-77005 meteorite from literature implementing recent results were compared to terrestrial geological samples. The ALH-77005 has poikilitic textures with coarse pyroxenes and brown olivines, and with recrystallized melt pocket. The coarse-grained minerals do not contain any alteration along the grain boundaries. Melt pocket and vicinity of opaque minerals contain biogenic signatures as filamentous, coccoidal forms of iron-oxidizing bacteria. The biosignatures were determined by 1) coccoidal, filamentous forms, 2) presence of embedded organic material, 3) presence of biogenic minerals, like ferrihydrite, goethite, and hematite. The other signatures for biogenicity of this meteorite are strong negative δ13C, enrichment of Fe, Mn, P, Zn in shock melt support scenario. This study proposes presence of microbial mediation on Mars.

Keywords: Martian meteorite; biogenic signatures; iron oxidizing bacteria (FeOB); ALH-77005; shergottite; FTIR-ATR; microbial mediation


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About the article

Received: 2018-03-19

Accepted: 2018-08-16

Published Online: 2019-04-03

Published in Print: 2019-01-01

Citation Information: Open Astronomy, Volume 28, Issue 1, Pages 32–39, ISSN (Online) 2543-6376, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/astro-2019-0002.

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© 2019 Ildikó Gyollai et al., published by De Gruyter. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Public License. BY 4.0

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