Widespread occurrence of (per)chlorate in the Solar System

W. Andrew Jackson, Alfonso F. Davila, Derek W.G. Sears, John D. Coates, Christopher P. McKay, Maeghan Brundrett, Nubia Estrada, J. K. Böhlke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Perchlorate (ClO - 4 ) and chlorate (ClO - 3 ) are ubiquitous on Earth and ClO - 4 has also been found on Mars. These species can play important roles in geochemical processes such as oxidation of organic matter and as biological electron acceptors, and are also indicators of important photochemical reactions involving oxyanions; on Mars they could be relevant for human habitability both in terms of in situ resource utilization and potential human health effects. For the first time, we extracted, detected and quantified ClO - 4 and ClO - 3 in extraterrestrial, non-planetary samples: regolith and rock samples from the Moon, and two chondrite meteorites (Murchison and Fayetteville). Lunar samples were collected by astronauts during the Apollo program, and meteorite samples were recovered immediately after their fall. This fact, together with the heterogeneous distribution of ClO - 4 and ClO - 3 within some of the samples, and their relative abundance with respect to other soluble species (e.g., NO - 3 ) are consistent with an extraterrestrial origin of the oxychlorine species. Our results, combined with the previously reported widespread occurrence on Earth and Mars, indicate that ClO - 4 and ClO - 3 could be present throughout the Solar System.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)470-476
Number of pages7
JournalEarth and Planetary Science Letters
StatePublished - Nov 15 2015


  • Chlorate
  • Chondrite
  • Fayetteville
  • Meteorite
  • Murchinson
  • Perchlorate


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