Some of the material in is restricted to members of the community. By logging in, you may be able to gain additional access to certain collections or items. If you have questions about access or logging in, please use the form on the Contact Page.
The recent reports of methane in the atmosphere of Mars, as well as the findings of hypersaline paleoenvironments on that planet, have underscored the need to evaluate the importance of biological (as opposed to geological) trace gas production and consumption, particularly in hypersaline environments. Methane in the atmosphere of Mars may be an indication of extant life, but it may also be a consequence of geologic activity and/or the thermal alteration of ancient organic matter. On Earth these methane sources can be distinguished using stable isotopic analyses and the ratio of methane (C1) to C2 and C3 alkanes present in the gas source (C1/(C2+C3)). We report here that methane produced in hypersaline environments on Earth has an isotopic composition and alkane content outside the values presently considered to indicate a biogenic origin. Higher salinity endoevaporites yielded what would be considered nonbiogenic methane based upon stable isotopic and alkane content, however incubation of crustal and algal mat samples resulted in methane production with similar isotopic values. Radiocarbon analysis indicated that the production of the methane was from recently fixed carbon. An extension of the isotopic boundaries of biogenic methane is necessary in order to avoid the possibility of false negatives returned from measurements of methane on Mars and other planetary bodies.
A Dissertation submitted to the Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Science in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Includes bibliographical references.
Jeffery Chanton, Professor Directing Dissertation; Patrick Mason, University Representative; Marcus Huettel, Committee Member; Yang Wang, Committee Member; Laura Lapham, Committee Member.
Florida State University
Use and Reproduction
This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s). The copyright in theses and dissertations completed at Florida State University is held by the students who author them.