Potential for irradiation of methane to form complex organic molecules in impact craters: Implications for Mars, Titan and Europa

John Parnell, M Baron, P Lindgren

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10 Citations (Scopus)


The release of methane from crater sites following meteorite impact is a possible consequence of the thermal alteration of organic matter, or tapping of reservoired gas of biogenic or abiogenic origin. At least the latter is feasible on Mars. Methane and higher hydrocarbons are susceptible to polymerization and precipitation by radioactive minerals. Where such minerals are present in impact target rocks, the craters can be a preferred site for carbon concentration, and the formation of complex organic molecules. On icy bodies, such as Titan and Europa, methane released by impact could be a fuel for prebiotic chemistry involving other forms of irradiation. (C) 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)322-325
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Geochemical Exploration
Publication statusPublished - 2006
EventGeofluids V: 5th International Conference on Fluid Evolution, Migration and Interaction in Sedimentary Basins and Orogenic Belts - Windsor, Ontario, Canada
Duration: 16 May 200621 May 2006


  • methane
  • irradiation
  • Mars
  • Europa
  • hydrothermal system
  • sea floor
  • Sweden
  • inclusions
  • matter
  • quartz
  • gas

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