Publications

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2006
Aubrey, A, Cleaves HJ, Chalmers JH, Skelley AM, Mathies RA, Grunthaner FJ, Ehrenfreund P, Bada JL.  2006.  Sulfate minerals and organic compounds on Mars. Geology. 34:357-360.   10.1130/g22316.1   AbstractWebsite

Strong evidence for evaporitic sulfate minerals such as gypsum and jarosite has recently been found on Mars. Although organic molecules are often codeposited with terrestrial evaporitic minerals, there have been no systematic investigations of organic components in sulfate minerals. We report here the detection of organic material, including amino acids and their amine degradation products, in ancient terrestrial sulfate minerals. Amino acids and amines appear to be preserved for geologically long periods in sulfate mineral matrices. This suggests that sulfate minerals should be prime targets in the search for organic compounds, including those of biological origin, on Mars.

1994
Chen, RF, Bada JL.  1994.  The Fluorescence of Dissolved Organic-Matter in Porewaters of Marine-Sediments. Marine Chemistry. 45:31-42.   10.1016/0304-4203(94)90089-2   AbstractWebsite

The fluorescence of porewaters from marine sediment cores from six different areas was measured. In most cases, fluorescence was affected primarily by the diagenesis of organic carbon first through sulfate reduction and subsequently by methane generation. Typically, fluorescence, dissolved organic carbon (DOC), absorbance, alkalinity, and ammonium ion concentrations correlate quite well, increasing in the upper sections of anoxic sediments and co-varying in deeper sections of these cores. The good correlation of DOC with fluorescence in the three cores in which DOC was measured indicates that fluorescence can be used to make a first order estimate of DOC concentration in anoxic porewaters. Data are consistent with a model in which labile organic matter in the sediments is broken down by sulfur reducing bacteria to low molecular weight monomers. These monomers are either remineralized to CO2 or polymerize to form dissolved, fluorescent, high molecular weight molecules. The few exceptions to this model involve hydrothermally generated hydrocarbons that are formed in situ in the Guaymas Basin or are horizontally advected along the decollement in the Nankai Trench.