Cláudio M. D. de Souza, Cristine E. A. Carneiro, João Paulo T. Baú, Antonio C. S. da Costa, Flávio F. Ivashita, Andrea Paesano Jr, Eduardo di Mauro, Henrique de Santana, Nils G. Holm, Anna Neubeck, Cássia T. B. V. Zaia e Dimas A. M. Zaia

INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF ASTROBIOLOGY – Volume: 12; Issue: 2; Pages: 135-143; DOI: 10.1017/S147355041200050X

In the present work, the interactions between forsterite-91 with distilled water and forsterite-91 with artificial seawater were studied at two pHs (2.0 and 8.0) using different techniques. A large increase in pH was observed for samples incubated at an initially acidic pH (2.0) due to the dissolution of forsterite-91 in distilled water and artificial seawater. Thus, in acidic hydrothermal vents, an increase in the amount of hydrocarbons and magnetite should be expected due to the release of Fe(II). The pHPZC decreased and the pHIEP increased when forsterite-91 was treated with distilled water and artificial seawater. The ions from the artificial seawater had an effect on zeta potential. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) images and X-ray diffractograms showed halite in the samples of forsterite-91 mixed with artificial seawater. The presence of halite or adsorption of ions on the surface of forsterite-91 could affect the synthesis of magnetite and hydrocarbons in hydrothermal vents, due to a decrease in the dissolution rates of forsterite-91. The dissolution of forsterite-91 yields low concentrations of Fe(III) and Mn(II) as detected by electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroscopy. Microanalysis of forsterite-91 showed a higher amount of Mn, with an oxidation that was likely not +II, as Mn in supernatant solutions was only detected by EPR spectroscopy after mixing with artificial seawater at pH 2.0. As Fe(III) and Mn(II) are catalyst constituents of magnetite and manganese oxide, respectively, their presence is important for synthesis in hydrothermal vents. Etch pits were observed only in the forsterite-91 sample mixed with distilled water at pH 8.0. Na, Cl, S, Ca and K were detected in the samples mixed with artificial seawater by SEM–EDS. Si, Mg, Fe and Al were detected in almost all supernatant samples due to forsterite-91 dissolution. Cr was not dissolved in the experiments, thus Cr in the mineral could serve as an effective catalyst for Fischer Tropsch Types (FTT) reactions in hydrothermal vent systems. X-ray diffractograms of the original forsterite-91 also showed peaks arising from zeolites and clinochlore. After the samples were treated with artificial seawater, X-ray diffractograms showed the dissolution of zeolite. Experiments should be performed in the natural environment to verify the potential for zeolites to act as a catalyst in hydrothermal vents.