TOF-SIMS analysis of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in Allan Hills 84001
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CitationStephan, T., Jessberger, E. K., Heiss, C. H., & Rost, D. (2003). TOF‐SIMS analysis of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in Allan Hills 84001. Meteoritics & Planetary Science, 38(1), 109-116.
PublisherThe Meteoritical Society
JournalMeteoritics & Planetary Science
AbstractThe presence of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in the Martian meteorite Allan Hills 84001 (ALH 84001) was considered to be a major sign of ancient biogenic activity on planet Mars (McKay et al. 1996). An asserted spatial association of PAHs with carbonates, carriers of so- called nanofossils, was crucial for their suggested connection to early life forms. Although both observations can be explained individually without employing living organisms, a lateral correlation of PAHs and carbonates would suggest a genetic link between PAHs and the microstructures, favoring a biogenic explanation. On the other hand, without such a correlation, a biogenic or even a Martian origin of the PAHs cannot be inferred. Here we show that there is no correlation of PAHs and carbonates in ALH 84001. Furthermore, a general trend of high PAH concentrations at locations where terrestrial lead is present obviously suggests a terrestrial origin for PAHs in ALH 84001.