Martian ‘blueberries’ and the connection on Earth (The Hindu)

Martian ‘blueberries’ and the connection on Earth (The Hindu)


  • NASA’s Mars exploration rover named Opportunity found many small spheres on the planet back in 2004, known as Martian blueberries.
  • It also studied mineralogy and observed that they were made of iron oxide compounds which are called haematites.
  • Now, very similar haematites have been found in Kutch, Gujarat.

Why is this significant:

  • The existence of haematites on Mars suggests that there was water.
  • The haematites on Mars also reflect on the fact that the planet had an atmosphere with oxygen.

What are Haematites:

  • It is one of the most copious minerals on Earth’s surface and in the form of shallow crust. 
  • The chemical composition of the compound is Fe2O3.
  • The formation mechanism of haematite concretion (hard solid mass) is the precipitation from aqueous fluids (the solvent is liquid water). 

The relation between Haematites and water:

  • Haematites are widely known to form in oxidizing environments, and from the observations on Earth, it can be inferred that water must have also played a critical role in the formation of grey haematite on planet Mars. 

The relation between Kutch and Mars findings:

  • The ‘blueberries’ found in India and Mars share similar characteristics so far.
  • Also, they have similar Jhuran formation, spherical morphology, often doublet and triplet, and similar mineralogy which is a mixture of haematite and goethite.
  • Since the findings are similar in nature, it reinforces the need to use the Kutch area for further analog studies of the Martian surface to have a better understanding of our neighboring planet.
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