Methane on Mars: potential origin and seepage


Tuesday, September 27 2016 - 12:00 pm, PDT
Giuseppe Etiope
Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, Roma

It is widely accepted that the occurrence of methane (CH4) in the Martian atmosphere may imply the presence of active geological sources, i.e. gas emission structures in the Martian soil and subsoil. In other words, gas seepage, a process well known on Earth, should exist on Mars. The concept of gas seepage,although obvious for many geologists, especially those working in gas geochemistry and petroleum geology, is ignored or poorly known by Mars methane science community. The seminar will offer a discussion on the fundamentals of seepage, its potential occurrence on Mars (via microseepage, mud volcanoes, faults, degassing from serpentinized rocks) and possible detection techniques. Basic concepts on potential methane origin on Mars (biotic vs abiotic) will be discussed and clarified, considering some confusion and misinterpretations in present literature.

Giuseppe Etiopeis a senior researcher, geologist, at the Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia in Rome, Italy. He works on the origin, occurrence, and migration of gas in the geosphere, with particular reference to biotic hydrocarbons in sedimentary basins and abiotic gas in serpentinized ultramafic rocks. He studies the origin of methane, gas seepage phenomena and their implications for the environment, energy resource exploration and planetary geology (methane on Mars). He published 164 articles and a Springer’s book on “Natural Gas Seepage”. H index: 27 (Web of Science); 32 (Google Scholar).

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