Incorporation of argon, krypton and xenon into clathrates on Mars

Timothy D. Swindle, Caroline Thomas, Olivier Mousis, Jonathan I. Lunine, Sylvain Picaud

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Calculations of the trapping of heavy noble gases within multiple guest clathrates under Mars-like conditions show that a substantial fraction of the martian Xe, perhaps even the vast majority, could be in clathrates. In addition, the Xe/Kr ratio in the clathrates would probably be much higher than in the atmosphere, so the formation or dissociation of a relatively small amount of clathrate could measurably change the atmospheric ratio. Relatively crude (factor of 2) measurements of the seasonal variability in that ratio by in situ spacecraft would be sensitive to ∼10% of the seasonal atmospheric CO2 variability being a result of clathrates, rather than pure CO2 frost. In addition, sequestration of Xe in clathrates remains a viable mechanism for explaining the variable Xe/Kr ratios seen in different suites of martian meteorites.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)66-70
Number of pages5
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 2009


  • Abundances
  • Ices
  • Mars
  • atmosphere
  • atmospheres
  • polar caps

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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