Jarosite: Rare Mineral Found in Antarctica

A rare maritime mineral, Jarosite, has been found in the Antarctica ice. It was discovered after drilling deep into Antarctic ice.

What the discovery signifies?

The recently discovered mineral was examined and it was found that it was formed in pockets within the ice. This supports the theory of presence of jarosite on MARS in as similar manner.  It signifies that, the minerals are able to form in thick deposits on mars because the planet is a lot dustier than Antarctica.

What is Jarosite?

  • Jarosite is a mineral from mars which is scarcely seen on earth.
  • It is a sulphate of potassium and iron.
  • The mineral can be formed by both water and acidic conditions.
  • It was first discovered on Mars in 2004 by a rover named “opportunity”.
  • Other Jarosite minerals include silver, sodium, lead and ammonium.
  • It can be found are in the mining and ore processing wastes where they act as sinks for other toxic elements such as lead and arsenic.
  • When the jarosite is broken, it releases metals such as iron, potassium besides the hydrogen ions and sulphate.
  • Jarosite is used in hydrometallurgy to control impurities.
  • The name Jarosite was derived from a Spanish name of a yellow flower of genus Cistus.
  • The mineral was described in 1852 by August Breithaupt for the first time.
  • It is yellow to yellowish-brown in colour. It is brittle, hard and has crystal structure. The mineral appears translucent and opaque sometimes.

Why Jarosite is found on Mars?

The reason for the presence of the mineral on the Mars (Red Planet) is not yet determined. The scientists believe that when the planet was covered with ice millennials ago sulphate, iron, and potassium might get trapped in the form of dust. This believe is not accepted because dust and ice have never chemically reacted to form minerals. Though ice provided a suitable environment for the transformation of dust to the mineral.


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