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- Arguments are presented in support of the idea that Mars possessed a dense CO2 atmosphere and a wet, warm climate early in its history. The plausibility of a CO2 greenhouse is tested by formulating a simple model of the CO2 geochemical cycle on early Mars. By scaling the rate of silicate weathering on Earth, researchers estimated a weathering time constant of the order of several times 10 to the 7th power years for early Mars. Thus, a dense atmosphere could have existed for a geologically significant time period (approx. 10 to the 9th power years) only if atmospheric CO2 was being continuously resupplied. The most likely mechanism by which this could have been accomplished is the thermal decomposition of carbonate rocks induced directly or indirectly by intense, global scale volcanism.
- Other Subject(s):
- NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS) Collection.
- Document ID: 19870013977.
Accession ID: 87N23410.
NASA, Washington, Reports of Planetary Geology and Geophysics Program, 1986; p 160.
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