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Sulfate-rich mineral deposits have been discovered in many locations on Mars through observations by orbiters, landers, and roving spacecraft. It appears that in most cases, these minerals are produced by acid-sulfate weathering of igneous rocks, which may have been a widespread process for the first billion years on Mars. The origin of life on Earth may have occurred in iron-sulfur hydrothermal settings, and early Mars likely had similar environmental conditions. An excellent terrestrial analog for acid-sulfate weathering of Mars-like basalts exists at Cerro Negro, Nicaragua, where acidic sulfur-bearing gases interact with recently erupted basaltic ash in numerous active fumaroles. We...

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