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Sample records for crater mars formation

  1. Crater Mound Formation by Wind Erosion on Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Steele, L. J.; Kite, E. S.; Michaels, T. I.

    2018-01-01

    Most of Mars' ancient sedimentary rocks by volume are in wind-eroded sedimentary mounds within impact craters and canyons, but the connections between mound form and wind erosion are unclear. We perform mesoscale simulations of different crater and mound morphologies to understand the formation of sedimentary mounds. As crater depth increases, slope winds produce increased erosion near the base of the crater wall, forming mounds. Peak erosion rates occur when the crater depth is ˜2 km. Mound evolution depends on the size of the host crater. In smaller craters mounds preferentially erode at the top, becoming more squat, while in larger craters mounds become steeper sided. This agrees with observations where smaller craters tend to have proportionally shorter mounds and larger craters have mounds encircled by moats. If a large-scale sedimentary layer blankets a crater, then as the layer recedes across the crater it will erode more toward the edges of the crater, resulting in a crescent-shaped moat. When a 160 km diameter mound-hosting crater is subject to a prevailing wind, the surface wind stress is stronger on the leeward side than on the windward side. This results in the center of the mound appearing to "march upwind" over time and forming a "bat-wing" shape, as is observed for Mount Sharp in Gale crater.

  2. Diagenetic Crystal Growth in the Murray Formation, Gale Crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kah, L. C.; Kronyak, R. E.; Ming, D. W.; Grotzinger, J. P.; Schieber, J.; Sumner, D. Y.; Edgett, K. S.

    2015-01-01

    The Pahrump region (Gale Crater, Mars) marks a critical transition between sedimentary environments dominated by alluvial-to-fluvial materials associated with the Gale crater rim, and depositional environments fundamentally linked to the crater's central mound, Mount Sharp. At Pahrump, the Murray formation consists of an approximately 14-meter thick succession dominated by massive to finely laminated mudstone with occasional interbeds of cross-bedded sandstone, and is best interpreted as a dominantly lacustrine environment containing tongues of prograding fluvial material. Murray formation mudstones contain abundant evidence for early diagenetic mineral precipitation and its subsequent removal by later diagenetic processes. Lenticular mineral growth is particularly common within lacustrine mudstone deposits at the Pahrump locality. High-resolution MAHLI images taken by the Curiosity rover permit detailed morphological and spatial analysis of these features. Millimeter-scale lenticular features occur in massive to well-laminated mudstone lithologies and are interpreted as pseudomorphs after calcium sulfate. The distribution and orientation of lenticular features suggests deposition at or near the sediment-water (or sediment-air) interface. Retention of chemical signals similar to host rock suggests that original precipitation was likely poikilotopic, incorporating substantial amounts of the primary matrix. Although poikilotopic crystal growth is common in burial environments, it also occurs during early diagenetic crystal growth within unlithified sediment where high rates of crystal growth are common. Loss of original calcium sulfate mineralogy suggests dissolution by mildly acidic, later-diagenetic fluids. As with lenticular voids observed at Meridiani by the Opportunity Rover, these features indicate that calcium sulfate deposition may have been widespread on early Mars; dissolution of depositional and early diagenetic minerals is a likely source for both calcium

  3. Using THEMIS thermal infrared observations of rays from Corinto crater to study secondary crater formation on Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Williams, J. P.

    2017-12-01

    Corinto crater (16.95°N, 141.72°E), a 13.8 km diameter crater in Elysium Planitia, displays dramatic rays in Mars Odyssey's Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) nighttime infrared imagery where high concentrations of secondary craters have altered the thermophysical properties of the martian surface. The THEMIS observations provide a record of secondary crater formation in the region and ray segments are identified up to 2000 km ( 145 crater radii) distance [1][2]. Secondary craters are likely to have the largest influence on model surfaces ages between 0.1 to a few Myr as there is the potential for one or two sizeable craters to project secondary craters onto those surfaces and thus alter the crater size-frequency distribution (CSFD) with an instantaneous spike in crater production [3]. Corinto crater is estimated to be less than a few Ma [4] placing the formation of its secondaries within this formative time period. Secondary craters superposed on relatively young impact craters that predate Corinto provide observations of the secondary crater populations. Crater counts at 520 and 660 km distance from Corinto (38 and 48 crater radii respectively), were conducted. Higher crater densities were observed within ray segments, however secondary craters still influenced the CSFD where ray segments were not apparent, resulting in steepening in the CSFD. Randomness analysis confirms an increase in clustering as diameters decrease suggesting an increasing fraction of secondary craters at smaller diameters, both within the ray and outside. The counts demonstrate that even at nearly 50 crater radii, Corinto secondaries still influence the observed CSFD, even outside of any obvious rays. Crater populations used to derive model ages on many geologically young regions on Mars, such as glacial and periglacial landforms related to obliquity excursions that occur on 106 - 107 yr cycles, should be used cautiously and analyzed for any evidence, either morphologic or

  4. Anatomy of an ancient aeolian sandstone on Mars: the Stimson formation, Gale crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gupta, Sanjeev; Banham, Steven; Rubin, David; Watkins, Jessica; Sumner, Dawn; Grotzinger, John P.; Lewis, Kevin; Edgett, Kenneth S.; Edgar, Lauren; Stack, Kathryn; Day, McKenzie; Ewing, Ryan; Lapotre, Mathieu

    2016-10-01

    Since landing in 2012, the Mars Science Laboratory's (MSL) rover Curiosity has traversed the plains and foothills of Aeolis Mons (informally known as Mt. Sharp) investigating the environments preserved in the stratigraphic record of Gale crater. Recently, the Curiosity team has been investigating the Stimson formation, a sandstone exhibiting abundant crossbedding that drapes the underlying Murray formation mudstones. The contact between the Stimson and underlying Murray formation exhibits several meters relief over several 100 m hundred metres where encountered thus far. The Stimson is observed to onlap onto this contact, indicating that accumulating Stimson sandstones unconformably onlapped or buried local palaeotopography.Facies and architectural elements observed within the Stimson are interpreted to represent deposition within an ancient dune field. The Stimson formation is typically composed of decimeter-scale and meter-scale crossbedded sandstones, (exhibiting wind-ripple lamination and well rounded particles up to granule size). Architectural elements are visible in outcrops oriented perpendicular to the regional northwest dip. These consist of undulating surfaces parallel to the regional dip with observed lateral extents up to 30 m that truncate underlying cross-sets and commonly act as basal surfaces to overlying cross-sets. Undulating surfaces are interpreted possibly to be deflationary supersurfaces, which formed in response to deflation or dune-field stabilisation across a regional extent. Surfaces inclined relative to the regional dip ascend between supersurfaces towards the north east at an observed angle of 3-4°. These surfaces are interpreted to be dune bounding surfaces, which are preserved when dunes climb as a result of dune-field aggradation. Aggradation of the system during the duration of the dune field's existence possibly occurred as a response to episodic increases of sediment supply into the basin, allowing dunes to climb and preserving

  5. Fluids During Diagenesis and Sulfate Vein Formation in Sediments at Gale Crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schwenzer, S. P.; Bridges, J. C.; Weins, R. C.; Conrad, P. G.; Kelley, S. P.; Leveille, R.; Mangold, N.; Martin-Torres, J.; McAdam, A.; Newsom, H.; hide

    2016-01-01

    We model the fluids involved in the alteration processes recorded in the Sheep bed Member mudstones of Yellowknife Bay (YKB), Gale crater, Mars, as revealed by the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover investigations. We compare the Gale crater waters with fluids modeled for shergottites, nakhlites, and the ancient meteorite ALH 84001, as well as rocks analyzed by the Mars Exploration rovers, and with terrestrial ground and surface waters. The aqueous solution present during sediment alteration associated with phyllosilicate formation at Gale was high in Na, K, and Si; had low Mg, Fe, and Al concentrations relative to terrestrial ground waters such as the Deccan Traps and other modeled Mars fluids; and had near neutral to alkaline pH. Ca and S species were present in the 10(exp -3) to 10(exp -2) concentration range. A fluid local to Gale crater strata produced the alteration products observed by Curiosity and subsequent evaporation of this ground water- type fluid formed impure sulfate- and silica-rich deposits veins or horizons. In a second, separate stage of alteration, partial dissolution of this sulfate-rich layer in Yellowknife Bay,or beyond, led to the pure sulfate veins observed in YKB. This scenario is analogous to similar processes identified at a terrestrial site in Triassic sediments with gypsum veins of the Mercia Mudstone Group in Watchet Bay, UK.

  6. Formation (and dating) of small impact craters on Earth as an analogue for Mars (Ilumetsa Craters Estonia)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Losiak, Anna; Jõeleht, Argo; Plado, Juri; Szyszka, Mateusz; Wild, Eva Maria; Bronikowska, Malgorzata; Belcher, Claire; Kirsimäe, Kalle; Steier, Peter

    2017-04-01

    Crater-strewn-fields are present on planetary bodies with an atmosphere such as Earth and Mars, but the process of their formation is still not fully understood. For example, a recent discovery of small pieces of impact-produced-charcoal within the ejecta blanket of 100 m in diameter Kaali crater (Losiak et al. 2016) may suggest existence of very local ( 10 cm thick layer in the distance of 10 m from the rim), short lived ( hours) thermal anomalies ( 300°C) in the ejecta blanket of even small craters. Ilumetsa in SE Estonia is an atypical example of crater-strewn-field consisting of only two relatively large, rimmed structures with diameters of 75-80 m (Ilumetsa Large: IL) and 50 m (Ilumetsa Small: IS) with true depths of about 8 and 3.5 m, respectively (Plado 2012 MAPS). Structures were previously dated by the 14C analysis of gyttja from the bottom of IL (Liiva et al. 1979 Eesti Loodus) to be 7170-6660 cal. BP. About 600 years older age (7570-7320 cal. BC: Raukas et al. 2001, MAPS) was proposed based on dated layer of peat in which glassy spherules, interpreted as dissipated melt or condensed vapor (however their chemical composition was not reported). Ilumetsa is listed as a proven meteorite impact in the Earth Impact Database, but neither remnants of the projectile nor other identification criteria (e.g., PDFs) have been found up to this point. The aim of this study was to search for possible impact related charcoals in order to determine the size and extend of thermal anomalies around small impact craters, as well as to determine how this atypical strew field was formed. Additionally, we hoped to determine/confirm the age of those structures. We have found charcoal in a similar geological setting as in Kaali Main crater in both Ilumetsa structures. The calibrated (95,4% probability) time ranges of four dated samples from IL and one sample of IS span the time interval from 7670-6950 cal. BP (consistent with previous dating). One sample from IS is younger (4830

  7. Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and Opportunity observations of the Burns formation: crater hopping at Meridiani Planum

    Science.gov (United States)

    R.E. Arvidson,; Bell, J.F.; Catalano, J.G.; Clark, B. C.; Fox, V.K.; Gellert, Ralf; Grotzinger, J.P.; Guinness, E.A.; Herkenhoff, Kenneth E.; Knoll, A.H.; Lapotre, M.G.A.; McLennan, S.M.; Ming, D. W.; Morris, R.V.; Murchie, S.L.; Powell, K. E.; Smith, M.D.; Squyres, S. W.; Wolff, M.J.; J.J. Wray,

    2015-01-01

    Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars hyperspectral (1.0–2.65 µm) along-track oversampled observations covering Victoria, Santa Maria, Endeavour, and Ada craters were processed to 6 m/pixel and used in combination with Opportunity observations to detect and map hydrated Mg and Ca sulfate minerals in the Burns formation. The strongest spectral absorption features were found to be associated with outcrops that are relatively young and fresh (Ada) or preferentially scoured of dust, soil, and coatings by prevailing winds. At Victoria and Santa Maria, the scoured areas are on the southeastern rims and walls, opposite to the sides where wind-blown sands extend out of the craters. At Endeavour, the deepest absorptions are in Botany Bay, a subdued and buried rim segment that exhibits high thermal inertias, extensive outcrops, and is interpreted to be a region of enhanced wind scour extending up and out of the crater. Ada, Victoria, and Santa Maria outcrops expose the upper portion of the preserved Burns formation and show spectral evidence for the presence of kieserite. In contrast, gypsum is pervasive spectrally in the Botany Bay exposures. Gypsum, a relatively insoluble evaporative mineral, is interpreted to have formed close to the contact with the Noachian crust as rising groundwaters brought brines close to and onto the surface, either as a direct precipitate or during later diagenesis. The presence of kieserite at the top of the section is hypothesized to reflect precipitation from evaporatively concentrated brines or dehydration of polyhydrated sulfates

  8. Clastic polygonal networks around Lyot crater, Mars: Possible formation mechanisms from morphometric analysis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brooker, L. M.; Balme, M. R.; Conway, S. J.; Hagermann, A.; Barrett, A. M.; Collins, G. S.; Soare, R. J.

    2018-03-01

    Polygonal networks of patterned ground are a common feature in cold-climate environments. They can form through the thermal contraction of ice-cemented sediment (i.e. formed from fractures), or the freezing and thawing of ground ice (i.e. formed by patterns of clasts, or ground deformation). The characteristics of these landforms provide information about environmental conditions. Analogous polygonal forms have been observed on Mars leading to inferences about environmental conditions. We have identified clastic polygonal features located around Lyot crater, Mars (50°N, 30°E). These polygons are unusually large (>100 m diameter) compared to terrestrial clastic polygons, and contain very large clasts, some of which are up to 15 metres in diameter. The polygons are distributed in a wide arc around the eastern side of Lyot crater, at a consistent distance from the crater rim. Using high-resolution imaging data, we digitised these features to extract morphological information. These data are compared to existing terrestrial and Martian polygon data to look for similarities and differences and to inform hypotheses concerning possible formation mechanisms. Our results show the clastic polygons do not have any morphometric features that indicate they are similar to terrestrial sorted, clastic polygons formed by freeze-thaw processes. They are too large, do not show the expected variation in form with slope, and have clasts that do not scale in size with polygon diameter. However, the clastic networks are similar in network morphology to thermal contraction cracks, and there is a potential direct Martian analogue in a sub-type of thermal contraction polygons located in Utopia Planitia. Based upon our observations, we reject the hypothesis that polygons located around Lyot formed as freeze-thaw polygons and instead an alternative mechanism is put forward: they result from the infilling of earlier thermal contraction cracks by wind-blown material, which then became

  9. Hydrothermal Signatures at Gale Crater, Mars, and Possible In-Situ Formation of Tridymite

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yen, A. S.; Morris, R. V.; Gellert, R.; Berger, J. A.; Sutter, B.; Downs, R. T.; Bristow, T.; Treiman, A. H.; Ming, D. W.; Achilles, C.; Blake, D. F.; Chipera, S.; Clark, B. C.; Craig, P.; Morrison, S. M.; Rampe, E. B.; Schmidt, M. E.; Schwenzer, S. P.; Thompson, L. M.; Vaniman, D.

    2017-12-01

    The occurrence of tridymite, a high temperature SiO2 polymorph definitively identified by the Curiosity rover in the Buckskin mudstone sample at Gale crater, Mars, has been attributed to detrital accumulation of rhyolitic material. This interpretation of a detrital origin is revisited in light of the observation that the tridymite-hosting sediments appear to have interacted with the same fluids that produced alteration halos in the overlying sandstone. The alteration halos in the Stimson sandstone are light-toned, elevated silica zones within 50 cm of a central fracture. They have likely experienced chemical leaching under acidic conditions resulting in depletion of metals (including Al), retention of Ti, formation of amorphous iron sulfates, 50% reduction of the pyroxene:plagioclase ratio, a factor of two increase in the Fe/Mn ratio, and passive enrichment of Si. This alteration is not constrained (nor precluded) to have occurred at elevated temperatures, but there are abundant indicators of hydrothermal activity within Gale crater. High concentrations of Ge, Zn, Ni, Pb, Cu, Se and Ga in a variety of samples analyzed by the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer are indicative of mobility in hydrothermal solutions. Mineralogy of Gale crater samples determined by the CheMin X-ray diffraction instrument includes phases which may be associated with hydrothermal activity (smectites, anhydrite, hematite), but definitive detections of mineral assemblages that are necessarily hydrothermal in origin remain absent. The nearly identical patterns of enriched and depleted elements of the Stimson alteration halos (relative to parent rocks) and the tridymite-bearing unit (relative to typical mudstone samples) require the consideration of co-genetic origins. Cristobalite, a SiO2 polymorph stable above 1470°C found in the Buckskin sample, is known to form in hydrothermal solutions at temperatures well below its stability field (Henderson et al., 1971). Formation of well

  10. Authigenesis/Diagenesis of the Murray Formation Mudstone in Gale Crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ming, D. W.; Rampe, E. B.; Grotzinger, J. P.; Hurowitz, J. A.; Morris, R. V.; Yen, A. S.; Blake, D. B.; Geller, R.; Sutter, B.

    2016-01-01

    The Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity has been exploring sedimentary deposits in Gale crater since August, 2012. The rover has traversed up section through approximately 150 m of sedimentary rocks deposited in fluvial, deltaic, and lacustrine environments (Bradbury group and overlying Mount Sharp group). The Murray formation lies at the base of the Mt. Sharp group and has been interpreted to be a finely laminated mudstone likely deposited in a subaqueous lacustrine environment. Four drill samples from several elevations in the Murray fm have been acquired by the rover's sampling system and delivered to the CheMin XRD instrument. The lower section of the Murray fm contains 2:1 phyllosilicate(s), hematite, jarosite, XRD amorphous materials, and primary basaltic minerals. Further up section, the Murray fm contains magnetite, cristobalite, tridymite, abundant Si-rich XRD amorphous materials along with plagioclase and K-feldspars. Murray formation materials appear to have been altered under an open hydrologic system based on the bulk chemistry of these materials measured by the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS). The 2:1 phyllosilicate only occurs in the lowermost section of the Murray fm and may be detrital or formed during authigenesis of Murray fm materials, similar to the Fe-saponite and magnetite detected in a mudstone in the Yellowknife Bay fm near Curiosity's landing site (stratigraphically at the base of the Bradbury group). The occurrence of jarosite and hematite in the lower section indicates an acidic diagenetic event. These phases may have formed via several acidic alteration mechanisms, including (1) oxidative weathering of mafic igneous rocks containing sulfides; (2) sulfuric acid weathering of Fe-bearing phases; and (3) near-neutral pH subsurface solutions rich in Fe2(+) that were rapidly oxidized to Fe3(+), which produced excess acidity. The transition from abundant hematite in the lowermost Murray fm to magnetite moving up section may

  11. Paleo-environmental Setting of the Murray Formation of Aeolis Mons, Gale Crater, Mars, as Explored by the Curiosity Rover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lewis, K. W.; Fedo, C.; Grotzinger, J. P.; Gupta, S.; Stein, N.; Rivera-Hernandez, F.; Watkins, J. A.; Banham, S.; Edgett, K. S.; Minitti, M. E.; Schieber, J.; Edgar, L. A.; Siebach, K. L.; Stack, K.; Newsom, H. E.; House, C. H.; Sumner, D. Y.; Vasavada, A. R.

    2017-12-01

    Since landing, the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover climbed 300 meters in elevation from the floor of north Gale crater up the lower northwest flank of Aeolis Mons ("Mount Sharp"). Nearly 200 meters of this ascent was accomplished in the 1.5 years alone, as the rover was driven up-section through the sedimentary rocks of the informally designated "Murray" formation. This unit comprises a large fraction of the lower strata of Mt. Sharp along the rover traverse. Our exploration of the Murray formation reveals a diverse suite of fine-grained facies. Grain sizes range from finer grains than can be resolved by the MAHLI imager (particles bearing Vera Rubin Ridge, continues to reveal the complex and long-lived depositional history of the Gale crater basin.

  12. Similarities Across Mars: Acidic Fluids at Both Meridiani Planum and Gale Crater in the Formation of Magnesium-Nickel Sulfates

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yen, Albert S.; Ming, Douglas W.; Gellert, Ralf; Mittlefehldt, David W.; Vaniman, David T.; Thompson, Lucy M.; Morris, Richard V.; Clark, Benton C.; Arvidson, Raymond

    2016-01-01

    In-situ identification of sulfates at the martian surface by the Mars Exploration Rovers and the Mars Science Laboratory have included calcium sulfates with various states of hydration (gypsum, bassanite, anhydrite), iron sulfates of likely fumarolic origin, massive deposits of iron hydroxysulfates indicative of an acidic history, and minor occurrences of magnesium sulfates. Recent measurements by the Opportunity and Curiosity Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometers (APXS) have indicated the presence of Ni-substituted Mg-sulfates at the Meridiani Planum and Gale Crater landing sites. The Opportunity rover has traversed nearly 43 km and is currently exploring the impact breccias of the rim of Endeavour crater, near a location where signatures of aqueous alteration have been established from orbit. APXS analyses of subsurface materials excavated by a rover wheel show clear evidence for a Mg(Ni)-sulfate with Mg:Ni (is) approximately 100:1 (molar). On the other side of the planet, Curiosity is continuing its climb up Mount Sharp after driving (is) approximately 13 km since landing. Over the last 4 km of the traverse, there have been multiple chemical analyses of erosionally-resistant nodules and dendritic features in a finely laminated mudstone unit which also indicate Mg(Ni)-sulfate (Mg:Ni (is) approximately 30:1, molar). The geologic settings for the Endeavour rim and the Mount Sharp mudstones are clearly different, but similar formation conditions for these sulfates may be possible. Ni(2+) readily substitutes for Mg(2+) in a variety of geochemical processes due to their comparable ionic radii. The availability of soluble Ni at the time of Mg-sulfate precipitation suggests acidic solutions. The fluids responsible for alteration in the Endeavour rim and for the formation of nodules in Gale mudstones may have had similar chemical characteristics at the time the Mg-sulfates were formed.

  13. Effect of Sulfur Concentration and PH Conditions on Akaganeite Formation: Understanding Akaganeite Formation Conditions in Yellowknife Bay, Gale Crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fox, A.; Peretyazhko, T.; Sutter, B.; Niles, P.; Ming, D. W.; Morris, R. V.

    2015-01-01

    The Chemistry and Mineralogy Instrument (CHEMIN) on board the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Curiosity Rover identified minor amounts of akaganeite (beta-FeOOH) at Yellowknife Bay, Mars. There is also evidence for akaganeite at other localities on Mars from the Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM). Akaganeite is an iron(III) hydroxide with a hollandite- like structure and Cl in its tunnels. Terrestrial akaganeite usually forms in Cl-rich environments under acidic, oxidizing conditions. Previous studies of akaganeite have revealed that akaganeite formation is affected by the presence of sulfate (hereafter denoted as S. The prediction of circumneutral pH coupled with the detection of S at Yellowknife Bay dictate that work is needed to determine how S and pH together affect akaganeite formation. The goal of this work is to study how changes in both S concentration and pH influence akaganeite precipitation. Akaganeite formation was investigated at S/Cl molar ratios of 0, 0.017, 0.083, 0.17 and 0.33 at pH 1.5, 2, and 4. Results are anticipated to provide combined S concentration and pH constraints on akaganeite formation in Yellowknife Bay and elsewhere on Mars. Knowledge of solution pH and S concentrations can be utilized in understanding microbial habitability potential on the Martian surface.

  14. Mineralogy of an ancient lacustrine mudstone succession from the Murray formation, Gale crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rampe, E. B.; Ming, D. W.; Blake, D. F.; Bristow, T. F.; Chipera, S. J.; Grotzinger, J. P.; Morris, R. V.; Morrison, S. M.; Vaniman, D. T.; Yen, A. S.; Achilles, C. N.; Craig, P. I.; Des Marais, D. J.; Downs, R. T.; Farmer, J. D.; Fendrich, K. V.; Gellert, R.; Hazen, R. M.; Kah, L. C.; Morookian, J. M.; Peretyazhko, T. S.; Sarrazin, P.; Treiman, A. H.; Berger, J. A.; Eigenbrode, J.; Fairén, A. G.; Forni, O.; Gupta, S.; Hurowitz, J. A.; Lanza, N. L.; Schmidt, M. E.; Siebach, K.; Sutter, B.; Thompson, L. M.

    2017-08-01

    The Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover has been traversing strata at the base of Aeolis Mons (informally known as Mount Sharp) since September 2014. The Murray formation makes up the lowest exposed strata of the Mount Sharp group and is composed primarily of finely laminated lacustrine mudstone intercalated with rare crossbedded sandstone that is prodeltaic or fluvial in origin. We report on the first three drilled samples from the Murray formation, measured in the Pahrump Hills section. Rietveld refinements and FULLPAT full pattern fitting analyses of X-ray diffraction patterns measured by the MSL CheMin instrument provide mineral abundances, refined unit-cell parameters for major phases giving crystal chemistry, and abundances of X-ray amorphous materials. Our results from the samples measured at the Pahrump Hills and previously published results on the Buckskin sample measured from the Marias Pass section stratigraphically above Pahrump Hills show stratigraphic variations in the mineralogy; phyllosilicates, hematite, jarosite, and pyroxene are most abundant at the base of the Pahrump Hills, and crystalline and amorphous silica and magnetite become prevalent higher in the succession. Some trace element abundances measured by APXS also show stratigraphic trends; Zn and Ni are highly enriched with respect to average Mars crust at the base of the Pahrump Hills (by 7.7 and 3.7 times, respectively), and gradually decrease in abundance in stratigraphically higher regions near Marias Pass, where they are depleted with respect to average Mars crust (by more than an order of magnitude in some targets). The Mn stratigraphic trend is analogous to Zn and Ni, however, Mn abundances are close to those of average Mars crust at the base of Pahrump Hills, rather than being enriched, and Mn becomes increasingly depleted moving upsection. Minerals at the base of the Pahrump Hills, in particular jarosite and hematite, as well as enrichments in Zn, Ni, and Mn, are products of

  15. Breaking Ground on the Moon and Mars: Reconstructing Lunar Tectonic Evolution and Martian Central Pit Crater Formation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Williams, Nathan Robert

    Understanding the structural evolution of planetary surfaces provides key insights to their physical properties and processes. On the Moon, large-scale tectonism was thought to have ended over a billion years ago. However, new Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) high resolution images show the Moon's surface in unprecedented detail and show many previously unidentified tectonic landforms, forcing a re-assessment of our views of lunar tectonism. I mapped lobate scarps, wrinkle ridges, and graben across Mare Frigoris -- selected as a type area due to its excellent imaging conditions, abundance of tectonic landforms, and range of inferred structural controls. The distribution, morphology, and crosscutting relationships of these newly identified populations of tectonic landforms imply a more complex and longer-lasting history of deformation that continues to today. I also performed additional numerical modeling of lobate scarp structures that indicates the upper kilometer of the lunar surface has experienced 3.5-18.6 MPa of differential stress in the recent past, likely due to global compression from radial thermal contraction. Central pit craters on Mars are another instance of intriguing structures that probe subsurface physical properties. These kilometer-scale pits are nested in the centers of many impact craters on Mars as well as on icy satellites. They are inferred to form in the presence of a water-ice rich substrate; however, the process(es) responsible for their formation is still debated. Previous models invoke origins by either explosive excavation of potentially water-bearing crustal material, or by subsurface drainage of meltwater and/or collapse. I assessed radial trends in grain size around central pits using thermal inertias calculated from Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) thermal infrared images. Average grain size decreases with radial distance from pit rims -- consistent with pit-derived ejecta but not

  16. Recent sedimentological studies of the Murray and Stimson formations and their implications for Gale crater evolution, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gupta, Sanjeev; Fedo, Chris; Grotzinger, John; Edgett, Ken; Vasavada, Ashwin

    2017-04-01

    The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Curiosity rover has been exploring sedimentary rocks on the lower north slope of Aeolis Mons since August 2014. Previous work has demonstrated a succession of sedimentary rock types deposited dominantly in river-delta settings (Bradbury group), and interfingering/overlying contemporaneous/younger lake settings (Murray formation, Mt. Sharp group). The Murray formation is unconformably overlain by the Stimson formation, an ancient aeolian sand lithology. Here, we describe the MSL team's most recent sedimentological findings regarding the Murray and Stimson formations. The Murray formation is of the order of 200 meters thick and formed dominantly of mudstones. The mudstone facies, originally identified at the Pahrump Hills field site, show abundant fine-scale planar laminations throughout the Murray formation succession and is interpreted to record deposition in an ancient lake system in Gale crater. Since leaving the Naukluft Plateau (Stimson formation rocks) and driving south-southeastwards and progressive stratigraphically upwards through the Murray succession, we have recognised a variety of additional facies have been recognized that indicate variability in the overall palaeoenvironmental setting. These facies include (1) cross-bedded siltstones to very fine-grained sandstones with metre-scale troughs that might represent aeolian sedimentation; (2) a heterolithic mudstone-sandstone facies with laminated fine-grained strata, cm-scale ripple cross-laminations in siltstone or very fine sandstone, and dm-scale cross-stratified siltstone and very fine grained sandstone. The palaeoenvironmental setting for the second facies remains under discussion. Our results show that Gale crater hosted lakes systems for millions to tens of millions of years, perhaps punctuated by drier intervals. Murray strata are unconformably overlain by the Stimson formation. Stimson outcrops are typically characterized by cross-bedded sandstones with cross

  17. Noachian and more recent phyllosilicates in impact craters on Mars.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fairén, Alberto G; Chevrier, Vincent; Abramov, Oleg; Marzo, Giuseppe A; Gavin, Patricia; Davila, Alfonso F; Tornabene, Livio L; Bishop, Janice L; Roush, Ted L; Gross, Christoph; Kneissl, Thomas; Uceda, Esther R; Dohm, James M; Schulze-Makuch, Dirk; Rodríguez, J Alexis P; Amils, Ricardo; McKay, Christopher P

    2010-07-06

    Hundreds of impact craters on Mars contain diverse phyllosilicates, interpreted as excavation products of preexisting subsurface deposits following impact and crater formation. This has been used to argue that the conditions conducive to phyllosilicate synthesis, which require the presence of abundant and long-lasting liquid water, were only met early in the history of the planet, during the Noachian period (> 3.6 Gy ago), and that aqueous environments were widespread then. Here we test this hypothesis by examining the excavation process of hydrated minerals by impact events on Mars and analyzing the stability of phyllosilicates against the impact-induced thermal shock. To do so, we first compare the infrared spectra of thermally altered phyllosilicates with those of hydrated minerals known to occur in craters on Mars and then analyze the postshock temperatures reached during impact crater excavation. Our results show that phyllosilicates can resist the postshock temperatures almost everywhere in the crater, except under particular conditions in a central area in and near the point of impact. We conclude that most phyllosilicates detected inside impact craters on Mars are consistent with excavated preexisting sediments, supporting the hypothesis of a primeval and long-lasting global aqueous environment. When our analyses are applied to specific impact craters on Mars, we are able to identify both pre- and postimpact phyllosilicates, therefore extending the time of local phyllosilicate synthesis to post-Noachian times.

  18. Stratigraphic distribution of veins in the Murray and Stimson formations, Gale crater, Mars: Implications for ancient groundwater circulation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nachon, M.; Sumner, D. Y.; Borges, S. R.; Stack, K.; Stein, N.; Watkins, J. A.; Banham, S.; Rivera-Hernandez, F.; Wiens, R. C.; l'Haridon, J.; Rapin, W.; Kronyak, R. E.

    2017-12-01

    Since landing at Gale crater, Mars, in August 2012, the Curiosity rover has driven through more than 300m of stratigraphy. From the first to the most recent sedimentary rocks explored, light-toned veins have been observed cutting the host-rock and were interpreted as diagenetic features emplaced by hydraulic fracturing. Chemical and mineralogical analyses show they consist of Ca-sulfate. Here we report on the veins' distribution within two geological formations explored more recently by the rover: (a) the Murray Formation that consists mainly of fine-grained laminated rocks that have been interpreted as having been deposited in a former lacustrine environment [1], and (b) the Stimson Formation, which lies unconformably above the Murray, and consists of cross bedded sandstones interpreted as being deposited in a aeolian environment [2]. We have performed a systematic observation of the veins within the MastCam images, from the base of the Murray (Sol 750) up to Sol 1515 [3], described their main geometrical characteristics (e.g. orientation to laminae, relative density, branching). Five veins facies were defined based on veins' geometrical properties, abundance, and host-rock grain size. The distribution of veins facies was placed within the broader stratigraphic context. The distribution of veins within the Murray and Stimson Formations shows strong rheological controls. In the Murray, light-toned veins are present from the basal part of the section up to the most recently explored exposures. Several dense vein outcrops are associated with local variations in host-rock type, suggesting rheological control of fluid circulation. In Stimson sandstones, light-toned veins are also present though much rarer, again possibly due to rheological properties. The light-toned veins represent post depositional fluid circulation, occurring after accumulation of the lacustrine Murray rocks; at least some veins formed after Murray's burial, erosion, and the deposition and

  19. 100 New Impact Crater Sites Found on Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kennedy, M. R.; Malin, M. C.

    2009-12-01

    Recent observations constrain the formation of 100 new impact sites on Mars over the past decade; 19 of these were found using the Mars Global Surveyor Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC), and the other 81 have been identified since 2006 using the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Context Camera (CTX). Every 6 meter/pixel CTX image is examined upon receipt and, where they overlap images of 0.3-240 m/pixel scale acquired by the same or other Mars-orbiting spacecraft, we look for features that may have changed. New impact sites are initially identified by the presence of a new dark spot or cluster of dark spots in a CTX image. Such spots may be new impact craters, or result from the effect of impact blasts on the dusty surface. In some (generally rare) cases, the crater is sufficiently large to be resolved in the CTX image. In most cases, however, the crater(s) cannot be seen. These are tentatively designated as “candidate” new impact sites, and the CTX team then creates an opportunity for the MRO spacecraft to point its cameras off-nadir and requests that the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) team obtain an image of ~0.3 m/pixel to confirm whether a crater or crater cluster is present. It is clear even from cursory examination that the CTX observations are areographically biased to dusty, higher albedo areas on Mars. All but 3 of the 100 new impact sites occur on surfaces with Lambert albedo values in excess of 23.5%. Our initial study of MOC images greatly benefited from the initial global observations made in one month in 1999, creating a baseline date from which we could start counting new craters. The global coverage by MRO Mars Color Imager is more than a factor of 4 poorer in resolution than the MOC Wide Angle camera and does not offer the opportunity for global analysis. Instead, we must rely on partial global coverage and global coverage that has taken years to accumulate; thus we can only treat impact rates statistically. We subdivide the total data

  20. Ancient Martian aeolian processes and palaeomorphology reconstructed from the Stimson formation on the lower slope of Aeolis Mons, Gale crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Banham, Steve G.; Gupta, Sanjeev; Rubin, David M.; Watkins, Jessica A.; Sumner, Dawn Y.; Edgett, Kenneth S.; Grotzinger, John P.; Lewis, Kevin W.; Edgar, Lauren; Stack, Kathryn M.; Barnes, Robert; Bell, Jame F. III; Day, Mackenzie D.; Ewing, Ryan C.; Lapotre, Mathieu G.A.; Stein, Nathan T.; Rivera-Hernandez, Frances; Vasavada, Ashwin R.

    2018-01-01

    Reconstruction of the palaeoenvironmental context of Martian sedimentary rocks is central to studies of ancient Martian habitability and regional palaeoclimate history. This paper reports the analysis of a distinct aeolian deposit preserved in Gale crater, Mars, and evaluates its palaeomorphology, the processes responsible for its deposition, and its implications for Gale crater geological history and regional palaeoclimate. Whilst exploring the sedimentary succession cropping out on the northern flank of Aeolis Mons, Gale crater, the Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity encountered a decametre‐thick sandstone succession, named the Stimson formation, unconformably overlying lacustrine deposits of the Murray formation. The sandstone contains sand grains characterized by high roundness and sphericity, and cross‐bedding on the order of 1 m in thickness, separated by sub‐horizontal bounding surfaces traceable for tens of metres across outcrops. The cross‐beds are composed of uniform thickness cross‐laminations interpreted as wind‐ripple strata. Cross‐sets are separated by sub‐horizontal bounding surfaces traceable for tens of metres across outcrops that are interpreted as dune migration surfaces. Grain characteristics and presence of wind‐ripple strata indicate deposition of the Stimson formation by aeolian processes. The absence of features characteristic of damp or wet aeolian sediment accumulation indicate deposition in a dry aeolian system. Reconstruction of the palaeogeomorphology suggests that the Stimson dune field was composed largely of simple sinuous crescentic dunes with a height of ca10 m, and wavelengths of ca 150 m, with local development of complex dunes. Analysis of cross‐strata dip‐azimuths indicates that the general dune migration direction and hence net sediment transport was towards the north‐east. The juxtaposition of a dry aeolian system unconformably above the lacustrine Murray formation represents starkly

  1. Ancient Martian aeolian processes and palaeomorphology reconstructed from the Stimson formation on the lower slope of Aeolis Mons, Gale crater, Mars

    OpenAIRE

    Banham, Steven G.; Gupta, Sanjeev; Rubin, David M.; Watkins, Jessica A.; Sumner, Dawn Y.; Edgett, Kenneth S.; Grotzinger, John P.; Lewis, Kevin W.; Edgar, Lauren A.; Stack-Morgan, Kathryn M.; Barnes, Robert; Bell, James F., III; Day, Mackenzie D.; Ewing, Ryan C.; Lapotre, Mathieu G. A.

    2018-01-01

    Reconstruction of the palaeoenvironmental context of Martian sedimentary rocks is central to studies of ancient Martian habitability and regional palaeoclimate history. This paper reports the analysis of a distinct aeolian deposit preserved in Gale crater, Mars, and evaluates its palaeomorphology, the processes responsible for its deposition, and its implications for Gale crater geological history and regional palaeoclimate. Whilst exploring the sedimentary succession cropping out on the nort...

  2. Sands at Gusev Crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cabrol, Nathalie A.; Herkenhoff, Kenneth E.; Knoll, Andrew H.; Farmer, Jack D.; Arvidson, Raymond E.; Grin, E.A.; Li, Ron; Fenton, Lori; Cohen, B.; Bell, J.F.; Yingst, R. Aileen

    2014-01-01

    Processes, environments, and the energy associated with the transport and deposition of sand at Gusev Crater are characterized at the microscopic scale through the comparison of statistical moments for particle size and shape distributions. Bivariate and factor analyses define distinct textural groups at 51 sites along the traverse completed by the Spirit rover as it crossed the plains and went into the Columbia Hills. Fine-to-medium sand is ubiquitous in ripples and wind drifts. Most distributions show excess fine material, consistent with a predominance of wind erosion over the last 3.8 billion years. Negative skewness at West Valley is explained by the removal of fine sand during active erosion, or alternatively, by excess accumulation of coarse sand from a local source. The coarse to very coarse sand particles of ripple armors in the basaltic plains have a unique combination of size and shape. Their distribution display significant changes in their statistical moments within the ~400 m that separate the Columbia Memorial Station from Bonneville Crater. Results are consistent with aeolian and/or impact deposition, while the elongated and rounded shape of the grains forming the ripples, as well as their direction of origin, could point to Ma'adim Vallis as a possible source. For smaller particles on the traverse, our findings confirm that aeolian processes have dominated over impact and other processes to produce sands with the observed size and shape patterns across a spectrum of geologic (e.g., ripples and plains soils) and aerographic settings (e.g., wind shadows).

  3. The central uplift of Ritchey crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ding, Ning; Bray, Veronica J.; McEwen, Alfred S.; Mattson, Sarah S.; Okubo, Chris H.; Chojnacki, Matthew; Tornabene, Livio L.

    2015-01-01

    Ritchey crater is a ∼79 km diameter complex crater near the boundary between Hesperian ridged plains and Noachian highland terrain on Mars (28.8°S, 309.0°E) that formed after the Noachian. High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) images of the central peak reveal fractured massive bedrock and megabreccia with large clasts. Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM) spectral analysis reveals low calcium pyroxene (LCP), olivine (OL), hydrated silicates (phyllosilicates) and a possible identification of plagioclase bedrock. We mapped the Ritchey crater central uplift into ten units, with 4 main groups from oldest and originally deepest to youngest: (1) megabreccia with large clasts rich in LCP and OL, and with alteration to phyllosilicates; (2) massive bedrock with bright and dark regions rich in LCP or OL, respectively; (3) LCP and OL-rich impactites draped over the central uplift; and (4) aeolian deposits. We interpret the primitive martian crust as igneous rocks rich in LCP, OL, and probably plagioclase, as previously observed in eastern Valles Marineris. We do not observe high-calcium pyroxene (HCP) rich bedrock as seen in Argyre or western Valles Marineris. The association of phyllosilicates with deep megabreccia could be from impact-induced alteration, either as a result of the Richey impact, or alteration of pre-existing impactites from Argyre basin and other large impacts that preceded the Ritchey impact, or both.

  4. Aqueous alteration detection in Tikhonravov crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mancarella, F.; Fonti, S.; Alemanno, G.; Orofino, V.; Blanco, A.

    2018-03-01

    The existence of a wet period lasting long enough to allow the development of elementary forms of life on Mars has always been a very interesting issue. Given this perspective, the research for geological markers of such occurrences has been continually pursued. Once a favorable site is detected, effort should be spent to get as much information as possible aimed at a precise assessment of the genesis and evolution of the areas showing the selected markers. In this work, we discuss the recent finding of possible deposits pointing to the past existence of liquid water in Tikhonravov crater located in Arabia Terra. Comparison of CRISM spectra and those of laboratory minerals formed by aqueous alteration has led us to the conclusion that the studied areas within the impact crater host phyllosilicates deposits. In addition, analysis of the CRISM spectra has resulted in the tentative identification of carbonates mixed with phyllosilicates.

  5. Valley formation by groundwater seepage, pressurized groundwater outbursts and crater-lake overflow in flume experiments with implications for Mars

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Marra, Wouter A.; Braat, Lisanne; Baar, Anne W.; Kleinhans, Maarten G.

    2014-01-01

    Remains of fluvial valleys on Mars reveal the former presence of water on the surface. However, the source of water and the hydrological setting is not always clear, especially in types of valleys that are rare on Earth and where we have limited knowledge of the processes involved. We investigated

  6. Sub-kilometre (intra-crater) mounds in Utopia Planitia, Mars: character, occurrence and possible formation hypotheses

    Science.gov (United States)

    Soare, Richard J.; Conway, Susan J.; Pearce, Geoffrey D.; Costard, François; Séjourné, Antoine

    2013-08-01

    At the middle latitudes of Utopia Planitia (˜35-45°N; ˜65-101°E) hundreds of small-sized mounds located in sub-kilometre impact craters dot the landscape. Their shape varies from circular to crescentic and their height ranges from ˜10 to 50 m. Often, metre to decametre pitting is observed, as is metres-thick banding or stratification. Mound albedo is relatively high, i.e. ˜0.16. The plain's terrain in the region, previously linked to the latitude-dependent mantle (LDM) of ice-dust, displays pitting and albedo similar to the small intra-crater mounds. Some workers have suggested that the mounds and the plain's terrain share a common ice-dust origin. If so, then scrutinising the mounds could provide analogical insight on the key geological characteristics and spatial distribution of the LDM itself. Other workers have hypothesised that the mounds are eroded sedimentary landforms or periglacial mounds underlain by a perennial ice-core (closed-system pingos). In this article we develop and then discuss each of the three mound-hypotheses in a much more substantial manner than has been done hitherto. Towards this end we use high-resolution images, present a detailed regional-map of mound distribution and establish a regional platform of topographical analysis using MOLA data superposed on a large-scale CTX mosaic. Although the ice-dust hypothesis is consistent with some observations and measurements, we find that a (loess-based) sedimentary hypothesis shows greater plausibility. Of the three hypotheses evaluated, the pingo or periglacial one is the weakest.

  7. Oxychlorine Species on Mars: The Gale Crater Story

    Science.gov (United States)

    Archer, P. D., Jr.; Ming, D. W.; Sutter, B.; Morris, R. V.; Clark, B. C.; Mahaffy, P. H.; Wray, J. J.; Fairen, A. G.; Gellert, R.; Yen, A. S.; hide

    2015-01-01

    Comparing data from the Alpha- Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) and the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instruments on MSL reveals a strong linear correlation between chlorine and oxygen, further demonstrating the presence of oxychlorine species in Gale Crater and, very likely, globally on Mars. Perchlorate was first discovered on Mars by the Microscopy, Electrochemistry, and Conductivity Analyzer (MECA) instrument on the Phoenix lander in 2008. Current hypotheses suggest that the formation of oxychlorine species such as perchlorate or chlorate is a global process and that these species should be globally distributed on Mars [e.g. 2-4]. To date, the SAM and Chemistry and Mineralogy (CheMin) instruments on MSL have analyzed one scooped sample of aeolian material (Rocknest [RN]), and four drilled samples (John Klein [JK], Cumberland [CB], Windjana [WJ], and Confidence Hills [CH]). The APXS instrument has also investigated the same or very similar samples. Although not definitively identified, oxychlorine species have been proposed to explain releases of O2, HCl, and chlorinated hydrocarbon species detected by evolved gas analysis (EGA) with the SAM instrument. We report a strong linear correlation between wt. % Cl detected by APXS and moles O2 detected by SAM during pyrolysis, indicating the presence of oxychlorine species in Gale Crater.

  8. Representative composition of the Murray Formation, Gale Crater, Mars, as refined through modeling utilizing Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer observations

    Science.gov (United States)

    VanBommel, Scott; Gellert, Ralf; Berger, Jeff; Desouza, Elstan; O'Connell-Cooper, Catherine; Thompson, Lucy; Boyd, Nicholas

    2017-04-01

    The Murray formation[1] in Gale Crater is distinctly characterized by depleted MgO and CaO, an elevated Fe/Mn ratio, and enrichments in SiO2, K2O, and Ge, compared to average Mars. Supported by observations with Curiosity's Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer[2], this pattern is consistent over several kilometers. However, intermixed dust, Ca-, and Mg-sulfates introduce chemical heterogeneities into the APXS field of view. Better constraints on the composition of what is characteristic of the Murray formation is achieved by applying a least-squares deconvolution[3] to a selection of APXS Murray targets. We subtract the composition of known additions (dust[4], MgSO4, CaSO4) to derive a more-representative Murray composition. Slight variations within Murray are then probed by modeling each target as a mixture of dust, sulfates and the derived representative Murray. The derived composition for what is representative of Murray has several key deviations from the straightforward average of Murray targets. The subtraction of known dust, Mg-, and Ca-sulfate additions suggests further depletion in MgO and CaO in Murray and also suggests a significant decrease in SO3 concentration compared to the average of Murray targets. While veins and concretions are contaminants when considering the composition of the bulk rock, the subtraction of Mg- or Ca-sulfate is independent of sulfate form. Sulfates within the bulk rock (detrital or cements) have been observed in the Murray formation. These sulfates are important and discussed further in [5]. Modeling APXS Murray targets as a mixture of dust, MgSO4, CaSO4, and representative Murray, provides insight into potential subtle variations within the surprisingly consistent Murray formation. For example, the high SiO2 in Buckskin, (sol 1057-1091) is not simply a mixture of representative Murray with sulfates and dust. The elevated Ni (and MgSO4) of Morrison (sol ˜775), the elevated Al2O3 of Mojave (sol ˜800-900), and the gradually

  9. Mineralogy of a mudstone at Yellowknife Bay, Gale crater, Mars.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vaniman, D T; Bish, D L; Ming, D W; Bristow, T F; Morris, R V; Blake, D F; Chipera, S J; Morrison, S M; Treiman, A H; Rampe, E B; Rice, M; Achilles, C N; Grotzinger, J P; McLennan, S M; Williams, J; Bell, J F; Newsom, H E; Downs, R T; Maurice, S; Sarrazin, P; Yen, A S; Morookian, J M; Farmer, J D; Stack, K; Milliken, R E; Ehlmann, B L; Sumner, D Y; Berger, G; Crisp, J A; Hurowitz, J A; Anderson, R; Des Marais, D J; Stolper, E M; Edgett, K S; Gupta, S; Spanovich, N

    2014-01-24

    Sedimentary rocks at Yellowknife Bay (Gale crater) on Mars include mudstone sampled by the Curiosity rover. The samples, John Klein and Cumberland, contain detrital basaltic minerals, calcium sulfates, iron oxide or hydroxides, iron sulfides, amorphous material, and trioctahedral smectites. The John Klein smectite has basal spacing of ~10 angstroms, indicating little interlayer hydration. The Cumberland smectite has basal spacing at both ~13.2 and ~10 angstroms. The larger spacing suggests a partially chloritized interlayer or interlayer magnesium or calcium facilitating H2O retention. Basaltic minerals in the mudstone are similar to those in nearby eolian deposits. However, the mudstone has far less Fe-forsterite, possibly lost with formation of smectite plus magnetite. Late Noachian/Early Hesperian or younger age indicates that clay mineral formation on Mars extended beyond Noachian time.

  10. Mineralogy of a Mudstone at Yellowknife Bay, Gale Crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vaniman, D. T.; Bish, D. L.; Ming, D. W.; Bristow, T. F.; Morris, R. V.; Blake, D. F.; Chipera, S. J.; Morrison, S. M.; Treiman, A. H.; Rampe, E. B.; Rice, M.; Achilles, C. N.; Grotzinger, J. P.; McLennan, S. M.; Williams, J.; Bell, J. F.; Newsom, H. E.; Downs, R. T.; Maurice, S.; Sarrazin, P.; Yen, A. S.; Morookian, J. M.; Farmer, J. D.; Stack, K.; Milliken, R. E.; Ehlmann, B. L.; Sumner, D. Y.; Berger, G.; Crisp, J. A.; Hurowitz, J. A.; Anderson, R.; Des Marais, D. J.; Stolper, E. M.; Edgett, K. S.; Gupta, S.; Spanovich, N.; Agard, Christophe; Alves Verdasca, José Alexandre; Anderson, Ryan; Archer, Doug; Armiens-Aparicio, Carlos; Arvidson, Ray; Atlaskin, Evgeny; Atreya, Sushil; Aubrey, Andrew; Baker, Burt; Baker, Michael; Balic-Zunic, Tonci; Baratoux, David; Baroukh, Julien; Barraclough, Bruce; Bean, Keri; Beegle, Luther; Behar, Alberto; Bender, Steve; Benna, Mehdi; Bentz, Jennifer; Berger, Jeff; Berman, Daniel; Blanco Avalos, Juan J.; Blaney, Diana; Blank, Jen; Blau, Hannah; Bleacher, Lora; Boehm, Eckart; Botta, Oliver; Böttcher, Stephan; Boucher, Thomas; Bower, Hannah; Boyd, Nick; Boynton, Bill; Breves, Elly; Bridges, John; Bridges, Nathan; Brinckerhoff, William; Brinza, David; Brunet, Claude; Brunner, Anna; Brunner, Will; Buch, Arnaud; Bullock, Mark; Burmeister, Sönke; Cabane, Michel; Calef, Fred; Cameron, James; Campbell, John “Iain”; Cantor, Bruce; Caplinger, Michael; Caride Rodríguez, Javier; Carmosino, Marco; Carrasco Blázquez, Isaías; Charpentier, Antoine; Choi, David; Clark, Benton; Clegg, Sam; Cleghorn, Timothy; Cloutis, Ed; Cody, George; Coll, Patrice; Conrad, Pamela; Coscia, David; Cousin, Agnès; Cremers, David; Cros, Alain; Cucinotta, Frank; d'Uston, Claude; Davis, Scott; Day, Mackenzie “Kenzie”; de la Torre Juarez, Manuel; DeFlores, Lauren; DeLapp, Dorothea; DeMarines, Julia; Dietrich, William; Dingler, Robert; Donny, Christophe; Drake, Darrell; Dromart, Gilles; Dupont, Audrey; Duston, Brian; Dworkin, Jason; Dyar, M. Darby; Edgar, Lauren; Edwards, Christopher; Edwards, Laurence; Ehresmann, Bent; Eigenbrode, Jen; Elliott, Beverley; Elliott, Harvey; Ewing, Ryan; Fabre, Cécile; Fairén, Alberto; Farley, Ken; Fassett, Caleb; Favot, Laurent; Fay, Donald; Fedosov, Fedor; Feldman, Jason; Feldman, Sabrina; Fisk, Marty; Fitzgibbon, Mike; Flesch, Greg; Floyd, Melissa; Flückiger, Lorenzo; Forni, Olivier; Fraeman, Abby; Francis, Raymond; François, Pascaline; Franz, Heather; Freissinet, Caroline; French, Katherine Louise; Frydenvang, Jens; Gaboriaud, Alain; Gailhanou, Marc; Garvin, James; Gasnault, Olivier; Geffroy, Claude; Gellert, Ralf; Genzer, Maria; Glavin, Daniel; Godber, Austin; Goesmann, Fred; Goetz, Walter; Golovin, Dmitry; Gómez Gómez, Felipe; Gómez-Elvira, Javier; Gondet, Brigitte; Gordon, Suzanne; Gorevan, Stephen; Grant, John; Griffes, Jennifer; Grinspoon, David; Guillemot, Philippe; Guo, Jingnan; Guzewich, Scott; Haberle, Robert; Halleaux, Douglas; Hallet, Bernard; Hamilton, Vicky; Hardgrove, Craig; Harker, David; Harpold, Daniel; Harri, Ari-Matti; Harshman, Karl; Hassler, Donald; Haukka, Harri; Hayes, Alex; Herkenhoff, Ken; Herrera, Paul; Hettrich, Sebastian; Heydari, Ezat; Hipkin, Victoria; Hoehler, Tori; Hollingsworth, Jeff; Hudgins, Judy; Huntress, Wesley; Hviid, Stubbe; Iagnemma, Karl; Indyk, Steve; Israël, Guy; Jackson, Ryan; Jacob, Samantha; Jakosky, Bruce; Jensen, Elsa; Jensen, Jaqueline Kløvgaard; Johnson, Jeffrey; Johnson, Micah; Johnstone, Steve; Jones, Andrea; Jones, John; Joseph, Jonathan; Jun, Insoo; Kah, Linda; Kahanpää, Henrik; Kahre, Melinda; Karpushkina, Natalya; Kasprzak, Wayne; Kauhanen, Janne; Keely, Leslie; Kemppinen, Osku; Keymeulen, Didier; Kim, Myung-Hee; Kinch, Kjartan; King, Penny; Kirkland, Laurel; Kocurek, Gary; Koefoed, Asmus; Köhler, Jan; Kortmann, Onno; Kozyrev, Alexander; Krezoski, Jill; Krysak, Daniel; Kuzmin, Ruslan; Lacour, Jean Luc; Lafaille, Vivian; Langevin, Yves; Lanza, Nina; Lasue, Jeremie; Le Mouélic, Stéphane; Lee, Ella Mae; Lee, Qiu-Mei; Lees, David; Lefavor, Matthew; Lemmon, Mark; Malvitte, Alain Lepinette; Leshin, Laurie; Léveillé, Richard; Lewin-Carpintier, Éric; Lewis, Kevin; Li, Shuai; Lipkaman, Leslie; Little, Cynthia; Litvak, Maxim; Lorigny, Eric; Lugmair, Guenter; Lundberg, Angela; Lyness, Eric; Madsen, Morten; Mahaffy, Paul; Maki, Justin; Malakhov, Alexey; Malespin, Charles; Malin, Michael; Mangold, Nicolas; Manhes, Gérard; Manning, Heidi; Marchand, Geneviève; Marín Jiménez, Mercedes; Martín García, César; Martin, Dave; Martin, Mildred; Martínez-Frías, Jesús; Martín-Soler, Javier; Martín-Torres, F. Javier; Mauchien, Patrick; McAdam, Amy; McCartney, Elaina; McConnochie, Timothy; McCullough, Emily; McEwan, Ian; McKay, Christopher; McNair, Sean; Melikechi, Noureddine; Meslin, Pierre-Yves; Meyer, Michael; Mezzacappa, Alissa; Miller, Hayden; Miller, Kristen; Minitti, Michelle; Mischna, Michael; Mitrofanov, Igor; Moersch, Jeff; Mokrousov, Maxim; Molina Jurado, Antonio; Moores, John; Mora-Sotomayor, Luis; Mueller-Mellin, Reinhold; Muller, Jan-Peter; Muñoz Caro, Guillermo; Nachon, Marion; Navarro López, Sara; Navarro-González, Rafael; Nealson, Kenneth; Nefian, Ara; Nelson, Tony; Newcombe, Megan; Newman, Claire; Nikiforov, Sergey; Niles, Paul; Nixon, Brian; Noe Dobrea, Eldar; Nolan, Thomas; Oehler, Dorothy; Ollila, Ann; Olson, Timothy; Owen, Tobias; de Pablo Hernández, Miguel Ángel; Paillet, Alexis; Pallier, Etienne; Palucis, Marisa; Parker, Timothy; Parot, Yann; Patel, Kiran; Paton, Mark; Paulsen, Gale; Pavlov, Alex; Pavri, Betina; Peinado-González, Verónica; Pepin, Robert; Peret, Laurent; Perez, Rene; Perrett, Glynis; Peterson, Joe; Pilorget, Cedric; Pinet, Patrick; Pla-García, Jorge; Plante, Ianik; Poitrasson, Franck; Polkko, Jouni; Popa, Radu; Posiolova, Liliya; Posner, Arik; Pradler, Irina; Prats, Benito; Prokhorov, Vasily; Purdy, Sharon Wilson; Raaen, Eric; Radziemski, Leon; Rafkin, Scot; Ramos, Miguel; Raulin, François; Ravine, Michael; Reitz, Günther; Rennó, Nilton; Richardson, Mark; Robert, François; Robertson, Kevin; Rodriguez Manfredi, José Antonio; Romeral-Planelló, Julio J.; Rowland, Scott; Rubin, David; Saccoccio, Muriel; Salamon, Andrew; Sandoval, Jennifer; Sanin, Anton; Sans Fuentes, Sara Alejandra; Saper, Lee; Sautter, Violaine; Savijärvi, Hannu; Schieber, Juergen; Schmidt, Mariek; Schmidt, Walter; Scholes, Daniel “Dan”; Schoppers, Marcel; Schröder, Susanne; Schwenzer, Susanne; Sebastian Martinez, Eduardo; Sengstacken, Aaron; Shterts, Ruslan; Siebach, Kirsten; Siili, Tero; Simmonds, Jeff; Sirven, Jean-Baptiste; Slavney, Susie; Sletten, Ronald; Smith, Michael; Sobrón Sánchez, Pablo; Spray, John; Squyres, Steven; Stalport, Fabien; Steele, Andrew; Stein, Thomas; Stern, Jennifer; Stewart, Noel; Stipp, Susan Louise Svane; Stoiber, Kevin; Sucharski, Bob; Sullivan, Rob; Summons, Roger; Sun, Vivian; Supulver, Kimberley; Sutter, Brad; Szopa, Cyril; Tan, Florence; Tate, Christopher; Teinturier, Samuel; ten Kate, Inge; Thomas, Peter; Thompson, Lucy; Tokar, Robert; Toplis, Mike; Torres Redondo, Josefina; Trainer, Melissa; Tretyakov, Vladislav; Urqui-O'Callaghan, Roser; Van Beek, Jason; Van Beek, Tessa; VanBommel, Scott; Varenikov, Alexey; Vasavada, Ashwin; Vasconcelos, Paulo; Vicenzi, Edward; Vostrukhin, Andrey; Voytek, Mary; Wadhwa, Meenakshi; Ward, Jennifer; Webster, Chris; Weigle, Eddie; Wellington, Danika; Westall, Frances; Wiens, Roger Craig; Wilhelm, Mary Beth; Williams, Amy; Williams, Rebecca; Williams, Richard B. “Mouser”; Wilson, Mike; Wimmer-Schweingruber, Robert; Wolff, Mike; Wong, Mike; Wray, James; Wu, Megan; Yana, Charles; Yingst, Aileen; Zeitlin, Cary; Zimdar, Robert; Zorzano Mier, María-Paz

    2014-01-01

    Sedimentary rocks at Yellowknife Bay (Gale crater) on Mars include mudstone sampled by the Curiosity rover. The samples, John Klein and Cumberland, contain detrital basaltic minerals, calcium sulfates, iron oxide or hydroxides, iron sulfides, amorphous material, and trioctahedral smectites. The John Klein smectite has basal spacing of ~10 angstroms, indicating little interlayer hydration. The Cumberland smectite has basal spacing at both ~13.2 and ~10 angstroms. The larger spacing suggests a partially chloritized interlayer or interlayer magnesium or calcium facilitating H2O retention. Basaltic minerals in the mudstone are similar to those in nearby eolian deposits. However, the mudstone has far less Fe-forsterite, possibly lost with formation of smectite plus magnetite. Late Noachian/Early Hesperian or younger age indicates that clay mineral formation on Mars extended beyond Noachian time.

  11. Slope activity in Gale crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dundas, Colin M.; McEwen, Alfred S.

    2015-01-01

    High-resolution repeat imaging of Aeolis Mons, the central mound in Gale crater, reveals active slope processes within tens of kilometers of the Curiosity rover. At one location near the base of northeastern Aeolis Mons, dozens of transient narrow lineae were observed, resembling features (Recurring Slope Lineae) that are potentially due to liquid water. However, the lineae faded and have not recurred in subsequent Mars years. Other small-scale slope activity is common, but has different spatial and temporal characteristics. We have not identified confirmed RSL, which Rummel et al. (Rummel, J.D. et al. [2014]. Astrobiology 14, 887–968) recommended be treated as potential special regions for planetary protection. Repeat images acquired as Curiosity approaches the base of Aeolis Mons could detect changes due to active slope processes, which could enable the rover to examine recently exposed material.

  12. Atmospheric Tides in Gale Crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Guzewich, Scott D,; Newman, C. E; de la Torre Juarez, M.; Wilson, R. J.; Lemmon, M.; Smith, M. D.; Kahanpaa, H.; Harri, A.-M.

    2015-01-01

    Atmospheric tides are the primary source of daily air pressure variation at the surface of Mars. These tides are forced by solar heating of the atmosphere and modulated by the presence of atmospheric dust, topography, and surface albedo and thermal inertia. This results in a complex mix of sun-synchronous and nonsun- synchronous tides propagating both eastward and westward around the planet in periods that are integer fractions of a solar day. The Rover Environmental Monitoring Station on board the Mars Science Laboratory has observed air pressure at a regular cadence for over 1 Mars year and here we analyze and diagnose atmospheric tides in this pressure record. The diurnal tide amplitude varies from 26 to 63 Pa with an average phase of 0424 local true solar time, while the semidiurnal tide amplitude varies from 5 to 20 Pa with an average phase of 0929. We find that both the diurnal and semidiurnal tides in Gale Crater are highly correlated to atmospheric opacity variations at a value of 0.9 and to each other at a value of 0.77, with some key exceptions occurring during regional and local dust storms. We supplement our analysis with MarsWRF general circulation modeling to examine how a local dust storm impacts the diurnal tide in its vicinity. We find that both the diurnal tide amplitude enhancement and regional coverage of notable amplitude enhancement linearly scales with the size of the local dust storm. Our results provide the first long-term record of surface pressure tides near the martian equator.

  13. Dune-Yardang Interactions in Becquerel Crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Urso, Anna; Chojnacki, Matthew; Vaz, David A.

    2018-02-01

    Isolated landscapes largely shaped by aeolian processes can occur on Earth, while the majority of Mars' recent history has been dominated by wind-driven activity. Resultantly, Martian landscapes often exhibit large-scale aeolian features, including yardang landforms carved from sedimentary-layered deposits. High-resolution orbital monitoring has revealed that persistent bedform activity is occurring with dune and ripple migration implying ongoing abrasion of the surface. However, little is known about the interaction between dunes and the topography surrounding them. Here we explore dune-yardang interactions in Becquerel crater in an effort to better understand local landscape evolution. Dunes there occur on the north and south sides of a 700 m tall sedimentary deposit, which displays numerous superposed yardangs. Dune and yardang orientations are congruent, suggesting that they both were formed under a predominantly northerly wind regime. Migration rates and sediment fluxes decrease as dunes approach the deposit and begin to increase again downwind of the deposit where the effect of topographic sheltering decreases. Estimated sand abrasion rates (16-40 μm yr-1) would yield a formation time of 1.8-4.5 Myr for the 70 m deep yardangs. This evidence for local aeolian abrasion also helps explain the young exposure ages of deposit surfaces, as estimated by the crater size-frequency distribution. Comparisons to terrestrial dune activity and yardang development begin to place constraints on yardang formation times for both Earth and Mars. These results provide insight into the complexities of sediment transport on uneven terrain and are compelling examples of contemporary aeolian-driven landscape evolution on Mars.

  14. Formation of Craters in Sand

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Vanissra Boonyaleepun

    2007-06-01

    Full Text Available The diameter of craters formed by spheres of varying mass dropped into sand at low speed was studied. The relationship between the diameter of the crater formed and the kinetic energy of the projectile at impact was found to be of the same general form as that for planetary meteor craters. The relationship is shown to be a power law with exponent 0.17.

  15. Mineralogy of Rocks and Sediments at Gale Crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Achilles, Cherie; Downs, Robert; Blake, David; Vaniman, David; Ming, Doug; Rampe, Elizabeth; Morris, Dick; Morrison, Shaunna; Treiman, Allan; Chipera, Steve; Yen, Albert; Bristow, Thomas; Craig, Patricia; Hazen, Robert; Crisp, Joy; Grotzinger, John; Des Marias, David; Farmer, Jack; Sarrazin, Philippe; Morookian, John Michael

    2017-04-01

    formation is the most sampled stratigraphic unit in Gale crater. Composed mainly of finely laminated mudstones and interpreted as lacustrine deposits, the mineralogy of Murray rocks reveals a complex aqueous history. Within the lower Murray strata, CheMin identified clay minerals, crystalline and amorphous silica, hematite, magnetite, and jarosite. The mineralogy suggests a paleolake that experienced variable redox conditions and sediment influx from multiple sources. Younger Murray strata have high abundances of clay minerals, hematite, and calcium sulfate but show lower variability in mineralogy compared to the older bedforms. CheMin's identification of tridymite in one of the Murray mudstone samples led to the first in situ identification of silicic volcanism on Mars. This presentation will discuss the mineralogy of sedimentary samples analyzed by CheMin and how these data are used to characterize the depositional and diagenetic environment of Gale crater's long-lived lake system.

  16. Geologic map of Tooting crater, Amazonis Planitia region of Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mouginis-Mark, Peter J.

    2015-01-01

    Tooting crater has a diameter of 27.2 km, and formed on virtually flat lava flows within Amazonis Planitia ~1,300 km west of the summit of Olympus Mons volcano, where there appear to have been no other major topographic features prior to the impact. The crater formed in an area ~185 x 135 km that is at an elevation between −3,870 m and −3,874 m relative to the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) Mars datum. This fortuitous situation (for example, a bland, horizontal target) allows the geometry of the crater and the thickness of the ejecta blanket to be accurately determined by subtracting the appropriate elevation of the surrounding landscape (−3,872 m) from the individual MOLA measurements across the crater. Thus, for the first time, it is possible to determine the radial decrease of ejecta thickness as a function of distance away from the rim crest. On the basis of the four discrete ejecta layers surrounding the crater cavity, Tooting crater is classified as a Multiple-Layered Ejecta (MLE) crater. By virtue of the asymmetric distribution of secondary craters and the greater thickness of ejecta to the northeast, Morris and others (2010) proposed that Tooting crater formed by an oblique impact from the southwest. The maximum range of blocks that produced identifiable secondary craters is ~500 km (~36.0 crater radii) from the northeast rim crest. In contrast, secondary craters are only identifiable ~215 km (15.8 radii) to the southeast and 225 km (16.5 radii) to the west.

  17. Curiosity's field site in Gale Crater, Mars, in context

    Science.gov (United States)

    Edgett, K. S.; Malin, M. C.

    2011-12-01

    NASA's Mars rover, Curiosity, is anticipated to land in Gale Crater in August 2012. Gale is a 155 km-diameter impact crater adjacent to the ancient crustal "north-south dichotomy boundary." It contains a mound of layered rock (of yet-unknown proportions of clastic sediment, tephra, and chemical precipitates) ˜5 km-high that was eroded by fluvial, eolian, and mass-movement processes. The stratigraphy includes erosional unconformities representing periods when new impact craters formed and streams cut canyons into layered rock. The majority of known impact sites on Earth are craters that were filled and buried in sediment; examples occur under the Chesapeake Bay and beneath the Chicago O'Hare Airport. The upper crust of Mars, with its relative lack of tectonism, is almost entirely a layered, cratered volume of filled, buried, and complexly-interbedded craters and fluvial systems. Some of these have been exhumed or partly exhumed; some, like Gale, were once filled with extensive rock layers that were eroded to form mounds or mesas. Landforms all across Arabia Terra show that similar materials were also deposited between craters. Gale is of the family of Mars craters that were filled and buried (or nearly so). The highest elevation on the Gale mound exceeds the crater's north rim by ˜2 km and is within 500 m of the highest point on the south rim. Many similar craters occur in Arabia Terra; these are instructive as some contain mounds, others have mesas or buttes or other erosional expressions. Craters within 10s to a few 100s of km of each other typically contain very different materials, as exhibited by varied erosional expression, bedding style, and layer thickness. This suggests that the depositional environments, sources, and physical properties of the deposited material differed from place to place and time to time, even in neighboring settings. The Curiosity site in Gale has the potential to illuminate processes that acted locally and globally on early Mars. In

  18. Acid Sulfate Alteration in Gusev Crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Morris, R. V.; Ming, D. W.; Catalano, J. G.

    2016-01-01

    The Mars Exploration Rover (MER) Spirit landed on the Gusev Crater plains west of the Columbia Hills in January, 2004, during the Martian summer (sol 0; sol = 1 Martian day = 24 hr 40 min). Spirit explored the Columbia Hills of Gusev Crater in the vicinity of Home Plate at the onset on its second winter (sol approximately 900) until the onset of its fourth winter (sol approximately 2170). At that time, Spirit became mired in a deposit of fined-grained and sulfate-rich soil with dust-covered solar panels and unfavorable pointing of the solar arrays toward the sun. Spirit has not communicated with the Earth since sol 2210 (January, 2011). Like its twin rover Opportunity, which landed on the opposite side of Mars at Meridiani Planum, Spirit has an Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) instrument for chemical analyses and a Moessbauer spectrometer (MB) for measurement of iron redox state, mineralogical speciation, and quantitative distribution among oxidation (Fe(3+)/sigma Fe) and coordination (octahedral versus tetrahedral) states and mineralogical speciation (e.g., olivine, pyroxene, ilmenite, carbonate, and sulfate). The concentration of SO3 in Gusev rocks and soils varies from approximately 1 to approximately 34 wt%. Because the APXS instrument does not detect low atomic number elements (e.g., H and C), major-element oxide concentrations are normalized to sum to 100 wt%, i.e., contributions of H2O, CO2, NO2, etc. to the bulk composition care not considered. The majority of Gusev samples have approximately 6 plus or minus 5 wt% SO3, but there is a group of samples with high SO3 concentrations (approximately 30 wt%) and high total iron concentrations (approximately 20 wt%). There is also a group with low total Fe and SO3 concentrations that is also characterized by high SiO2 concentrations (greater than 70 wt%). The trend labeled "Basaltic Soil" is interpreted as mixtures in variable proportions between unaltered igneous material and oxidized and SO3-rich basaltic

  19. Block Distribution Analysis of Impact Craters in the Tharsis and Elysium Planitia Regions on Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Button, N.; Karunatillake, S.; Diaz, C.; Zadei, S.; Rajora, V.; Barbato, A.; Piorkowski, M.

    2017-12-01

    The block distribution pattern of ejecta surrounding impact craters reveals clues about their formation. Using images from High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) image onboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), we indentified two rayed impact craters on Mars with measurable ejecta fields to quantitatively investigate in this study. Impact Crater 1 (HiRISE image PSP_008011_1975) is located in the Tharsis region at 17.41°N, 248.75°E and is 175 m in diameter. Impact Crater 2 (HiRISE image ESP_018352_1805) is located in Elysium Planitia at 0.51°N, 163.14°E and is 320 m in diameter. Our block measurements, used to determine the area, were conducted using HiView. Employing methods similar to Krishna and Kumar (2016), we compared block size and axis ratio to block distance from the center of the crater, impact angle, and direction. Preliminary analysis of sixteen radial sectors around Impact Crater 1 revealed that in sectors containing mostly small blocks (less than 10 m2), the small blocks were ejected up to three times the diameter of the crater from the center of the crater. These small block-dominated sectors lacked blocks larger than 10 m2. Contrastingly, in large block-dominated sectors (larger than 30 m2) blocks rarely traveled farther than 200 m from the center of the crater. We also seek to determine the impact angle and direction. Krishna and Kumar (2016) calculate the b-value (N(a) = Ca-b; "N(a) equals the number of fragments or craters with a size greater than a, C is a constant, and -b is a power index") as a method to determine the impact direction. Our preliminary results for Impact Crater 1 did not clearly indicate the impact angle. With improved measurements and the assessment of Impact Crater 2, we will compare Impact Crater 1 to Impact Crater 2 as well as assess the impact angle and direction in order to determine if the craters are secondary craters. Hood, D. and Karunatillake, S. (2017), LPSC, Abstract #2640 Krishna, N., and P. S

  20. Atypical pit craters on Mars: new insights from THEMIS, CTX and HiRISE observations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cushing, Glen; Okubo, Chris H.; Titus, Timothy N.

    2015-01-01

    More than 100 pit craters in the Tharsis region of Mars exhibit morphologies, diameters and thermal behaviors that diverge from the much larger bowl-shaped pit craters that occur in most regions across Mars. These Atypical Pit Craters (APCs) generally have sharp and distinct rims, vertical or overhanging walls that extend down to their floors, surface diameters of ~50-350 m, and high depth-to-diameter (d/D) ratios that are usually greater than 0.3 (which is an upper-range value for impacts and bowl-shaped pit craters), and can exceed values of 1.8. Observations by the Mars Odyssey THermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) show that APC floor temperatures are warmer at night, and fluctuate with much lower diurnal amplitudes than nearby surfaces or adjacent bowl-shaped pit craters. Kīlauea volcano, Hawai'i, hosts pit craters that formed through subsurface collapse into active volcanic dikes, resulting in pits that can appear morphologically analogous to either APCs or bowl-shaped pit craters. Partially-drained dikes are sometimes exposed within the lower walls and floors of these terrestrial APC analogs and can form extensive cave systems with unique microclimates. Similar caves in martian pit craters are of great interest for astrobiology. This study uses new observations by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) and Context Camera (CTX) to refine previous work where seven APCs were described from lower-resolution THEMIS visible-wavelength (VIS) observations. Here, we identify locations of 115 APCs, map their distribution across the Tharsis region, characterize their internal morphologies with high-resolution observations, and discuss possible formation mechanisms.

  1. A depth versus diameter scaling relationship for the best-preserved melt-bearing complex craters on Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tornabene, Livio L.; Watters, Wesley A.; Osinski, Gordon R.; Boyce, Joseph M.; Harrison, Tanya N.; Ling, Victor; McEwen, Alfred S.

    2018-01-01

    We use topographic data to show that impact craters with pitted floor deposits are among the deepest on Mars. This is consistent with the interpretation of pitted materials as primary crater-fill impactite deposits emplaced during crater formation. Our database consists of 224 pitted material craters ranging in size from ∼1 to 150 km in diameter. Our measurements are based on topographic data from the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) and the High-Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC). We have used these craters to measure the relationship between crater diameter and the initial post-formation depth. Depth was measured as maximum rim-to-floor depth, (dr), but we also report the depth measured using other definitions. The database was down-selected by refining or removing elevation measurements from ;problematic; craters affected by processes and conditions that influenced their dr/D, such as pre-impact slopes/topography and later overprinting craters. We report a maximum (deepest) and mean scaling relationship of dr = (0.347 ± 0.021)D0.537 ± 0.017 and dr = (0.323 ± 0.017)D0.538 ± 0.016, respectively. Our results suggest that significant variations between previously-reported MOLA-based dr vs. D relationships may result from the inclusion of craters that: 1) are influenced by atypical processes (e.g., highly oblique impact), 2) are significantly degraded, 3) reside within high-strength regions, and 4) are transitional (partially collapsed). By taking such issues into consideration and only measuring craters with primary floor materials, we present the best estimate to date of a MOLA-based relationship of dr vs. D for the least-degraded complex craters on Mars. This can be applied to crater degradation studies and provides a useful constraint for models of complex crater formation.

  2. Diagenesis Along Fractures in an Eolian Sandstone, Gale Crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ming, D. W.; Yen, A. S.; Rampe, E. B.; Grotzinger, J. P.; Blake, D. F.; Bristow, T. F.; Chipera, S. J.; Downs, R.; Morris, R. V.; Morrison, S. M.; hide

    2016-01-01

    The Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity has been exploring sedimentary deposits in Gale crater since August 2012. The rover has traversed up section through approx.100 m of sedimentary rocks deposited in fluvial, deltaic, lacustrine, and eolian environments (Bradbury group and overlying Mount Sharp group). The Stimson formation lies unconformable over a lacustrine mudstone at the base of the Mount Sharp group and has been interpreted to be a cross-bedded sandstone of lithified eolian dunes. Mineralogy of the unaltered Stimson sandstone consists of plagioclase feldspar, pyroxenes, and magnetite with minor abundances of hematite, and Ca-sulfates (anhydrite, bassanite). Unaltered sandstone has a composition similar to the average Mars crustal composition. Alteration "halos" occur adjacent to fractures in the Stimson. Fluids passing through these fractures have altered the chemistry and mineralogy of the sandstone. Silicon and S enrichments and depletions in Al, Fe, Mg, Na, K, Ni and Mn suggest aqueous alteration in an open hydrologic system. Mineralogy of the altered Stimson is dominated by Ca-sulfates, Si-rich X-ray amorphous materials along with plagioclase feldspar, magnetite, and pyroxenes, but less abundant in the altered compared to the unaltered Stimson sandstone and lower pyroxene/plagioclase feldspar. The mineralogy and geochemistry of the altered sandstone suggest a complicated history with several (many?) episodes of aqueous alteration under a variety of environmental conditions (e.g., acidic, alkaline).

  3. Mars Climate History: Insights From Impact Crater Wall Slope Statistics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kreslavsky, Mikhail A.; Head, James W.

    2018-02-01

    We use the global distribution of the steepest slopes on crater walls derived from Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter profile data to assess the magnitudes of degradational processes with latitude, altitude, and time. We independently confirm that Amazonian polar/high-latitude crater slope modification is substantial, but that craters in the low latitudes have essentially escaped significant slope modification since the Early Hesperian. We find that the total amount of crater wall degradation in the Late Noachian is very small in comparison to the circumpolar regions in the Late Amazonian, an observation that we interpret to mean that the Late Noachian climate was not characterized by persistent and continuous warm and wet conditions. A confirmed elevational zonality in degradation in the Early Hesperian is interpreted to mean that the atmosphere was denser than today.

  4. Elevated Zinc and Germanium Discovered by Curiosity's APXS in the Murray Formation of Gale Crater, Mars, Indicate Hydrothermal Enrichment and Possible Diagenetic Fractionation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Berger, J. A.; Gellert, R.; Schmidt, M. E.; Boyd, N.; Desouza, E.; Ming, D. W.; O'Connell-Cooper, C.; Rampe, E. B.; Thompson, L. M.; VanBommel, S.; Yen, A.

    2017-12-01

    Zinc and Ge enrichments were discovered by the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) in diverse rock units on the traverse of the Mars rover Curiosity over the first 1350 sols (Martian solar days since landing) in Gale Crater [1]. Here, we present APXS results that show the Zn and Ge enrichments persist as a feature of the Murray fm. up to the foot of the Vera Rubin Ridge (VRR) on sol 1750. The Murray fm. consists primarily of finely laminated, fine-grained sedimentary rock with elevated silica (44-74 wt%), variable Fe/Mn (20-290), and Al, Fe, Mg, and Ca depletions (relative to the average basaltic Mars crust) suggestive of alteration in an open system [2]. Zn and Ge concentrations in the Murray fm. bedrock (Zn 1200 ± 600 ppm; Ge 100 ± 30 ppm) are 10-100X higher than those modeled for the Martian crust (Zn 80 ppm; Ge 2 ppm). In the Murray fm. bedrock, Ge is consistently 100 ppm, except for the high silica (up to 75 wt%) unit Buckskin, where Zn, Fe, Mn, and Al are strongly depleted and Ge is 50 ppm. In contrast, Zn concentrations change with elevation, dropping from 2500 to 100 ppm over 30 m in the lower Murray (below -4445 m elevation), a trend mirrored by Ni and Mn [2]. Above this, at -4436 m elevation, Zn increases to 990 ppm, then drops steadily to 460 ppm at -4335 m, then increases sharply to 1540 ± 450 at -4325 m up to the base of the VRR (-4243 m). Mn is also elevated over this higher elevation above -4325 m (0.20 to 0.77 wt%); Ni is 840 ± 200 ppm with no clear correlation with elevation above -4445 m. We propose that the primary Zn and Ge enrichment was caused by hydrothermal fluids, and enriched deposits in the sediment source region were dispersed in siliciclastic material during transport and deposition. In situ enrichment by hydrothermal fluids cannot be ruled out. However, the Zn and Ge enrichments are not unique to the Murray fm.; rocks in the Bradbury group (sols 0-700) with minimally and/or isochemically altered basaltic and K-rich basaltic

  5. An upper limit on Early Mars atmospheric pressure from small ancient craters

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kite, E. S.; Williams, J.; Lucas, A.; Aharonson, O.

    2012-12-01

    Planetary atmospheres brake, ablate, and disrupt small asteroids and comets, filtering out small hypervelocity surface impacts and causing fireballs, airblasts, meteors, and meteorites. Hypervelocity craters Earth are typically caused by irons (because stones are more likely to break up), and the smallest hypervelocity craters near sea-level on Earth are ~20 m in diameter. 'Zap pits' as small as 30 microns are known from the airless moon, but the other airy worlds show the effects of progressively thicker atmospheres:- the modern Mars atmosphere is marginally capable of removing >90% of the kinetic energy of >240 kg iron impactors; Titan's paucity of small craters is consistent with a model predicting atmospheric filtering of craters smaller than 6-8km; and on Venus, craters below ~20 km diameter are substantially depleted. Changes in atmospheric CO2 concentration are believed to be the single most important control on Mars climate evolution and habitability. Existing data requires an early epoch of massive atmospheric loss to space; suggests that the present-day rate of escape to space is small; and offers only limited evidence for carbonate formation. Existing evidence has not led to convergence of atmosphere-evolution models, which must balance poorly understood fluxes from volcanic degassing, surface weathering, and escape to space. More direct measurements are required in order to determine the history of CO2 concentrations. Wind erosion and tectonics exposes ancient surfaces on Mars, and the size-frequency distribution of impacts on these surfaces has been previously suggested as a proxy time series of Mars atmospheric thickness. We will present a new upper limit on Early Mars atmospheric pressure using the size-frequency distribution of 20-100m diameter ancient craters in Aeolis Dorsa, validated using HiRISE DTMs, in combination with Monte Carlo simulations of the effect of paleo-atmospheres of varying thickness on the crater flux. These craters are

  6. Open Access Discovery of alunite in Cross crater, Terra Sirenum, Mars: Evidence for acidic, sulfurous waters

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ehlmann, Bethany L.; Swayze, Gregg A.; Milliken, Ralph E.; Mustard, John F.; Clark, Roger N.; Murchie, Scott L.; Breit, George N.; Wray, James J.; Gondet, Brigitte; Poulet, Francois; Carter, John; Calvin, Wendy M.; Benzel, William M.; Seelos, Kimberly D.

    2016-01-01

    Cross crater is a 65 km impact crater, located in the Noachian highlands of the Terra Sirenum region of Mars (30°S, 158°W), which hosts aluminum phyllosilicate deposits first detected by the Observatoire pour la Minéralogie, L’Eau, les Glaces et l’Activitié (OMEGA) imaging spectrometer on Mars Express. Using high-resolution data from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, we examine Cross crater’s basin-filling sedimentary deposits. Visible/shortwave infrared (VSWIR) spectra from the Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM) show absorptions diagnostic of alunite. Combining spectral data with high-resolution images, we map a large (10 km × 5 km) alunite-bearing deposit in southwest Cross crater, widespread kaolin-bearing sediments with variable amounts of alunite that are layered in <10 m scale beds, and silica- and/or montmorillonite-bearing deposits that occupy topographically lower, heavily fractured units. The secondary minerals are found at elevations ranging from 700 to 1550 m, forming a discontinuous ring along the crater wall beneath darker capping materials. The mineralogy inside Cross crater is different from that of the surrounding terrains and other martian basins, where Fe/Mg-phyllosilicates and Ca/Mg-sulfates are commonly found. Alunite in Cross crater indicates acidic, sulfurous waters at the time of its formation. Waters in Cross crater were likely supplied by regionally upwelling groundwaters as well as through an inlet valley from a small adjacent depression to the east, perhaps occasionally forming a lake or series of shallow playa lakes in the closed basin. Like nearby Columbus crater, Cross crater exhibits evidence for acid sulfate alteration, but the alteration in Cross is more extensive/complete. The large but localized occurrence of alunite suggests a localized, high-volume source of acidic waters or vapors, possibly supplied by sulfurous (H2S- and/or SO2-bearing) waters in contact with a magmatic source, upwelling

  7. Context of ancient aqueous environments on Mars from in situ geologic mapping at Endeavour Crater

    Science.gov (United States)

    Crumpler, L.S.; Arvidson, R. E.; Bell, J.; Clark, B. C.; Cohen, B. A.; Farrand, W. H.; Gellert, Ralf; Golombek, M.; Grant, J. A.; Guinness, E.; Herkenhoff, Kenneth E.; Johnson, J. R.; Jolliff, B.; Ming, D. W.; Mittlefehldt, D. W.; Parker, T.; Rice, J. W.; Squyres, S. W.; Sullivan, R.; Yen, A. S.

    2015-01-01

    Using the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity, we have compiled one of the first field geologic maps on Mars while traversing the Noachian terrain along the rim of the 22 km diameter Endeavour Crater (Latitude −2°16′33″, Longitude −5°10′51″). In situ mapping of the petrographic, elemental, structural, and stratigraphic characteristics of outcrops and rocks distinguishes four mappable bedrock lithologic units. Three of these rock units predate the surrounding Burns formation sulfate-rich sandstones and one, the Matijevic Formation, represents conditions on early Mars predating the formation of Endeavour Crater. The stratigraphy assembled from these observations includes several geologic unconformities. The differences in lithologic units across these unconformities record changes in the character and intensity of the Martian aqueous environment over geologic time. Water circulated through fractures in the oldest rocks over periods long enough that texturally and elementally significant alteration occurred in fracture walls. These oldest pre-Endeavour rocks and their network of mineralized and altered fractures were preserved by burial beneath impact ejecta and were subsequently exhumed and exposed. The alteration along joints in the oldest rocks and the mineralized veins and concentrations of trace metals in overlying lithologic units is direct evidence that copious volumes of mineralized and/or hydrothermal fluids circulated through the early Martian crust. The wide range in intensity of structural and chemical modification from outcrop to outcrop along the crater rim shows that the ejecta of large (>8 km in diameter) impact craters is complex. These results imply that geologic complexity is to be anticipated in other areas of Mars where cratering has been a fundamental process in the local and regional geology and mineralogy.

  8. Planetary boundary layer and circulation dynamics at Gale Crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fonseca, Ricardo M.; Zorzano-Mier, María-Paz; Martín-Torres, Javier

    2018-03-01

    The Mars implementation of the Planet Weather Research and Forecasting (PlanetWRF) model, MarsWRF, is used here to simulate the atmospheric conditions at Gale Crater for different seasons during a period coincident with the Curiosity rover operations. The model is first evaluated with the existing single-point observations from the Rover Environmental Monitoring Station (REMS), and is then used to provide a larger scale interpretation of these unique measurements as well as to give complementary information where there are gaps in the measurements. The variability of the planetary boundary layer depth may be a driver of the changes in the local dust and trace gas content within the crater. Our results show that the average time when the PBL height is deeper than the crater rim increases and decreases with the same rate and pattern as Curiosity's observations of the line-of-sight of dust within the crater and that the season when maximal (minimal) mixing is produced is Ls 225°-315° (Ls 90°-110°). Thus the diurnal and seasonal variability of the PBL depth seems to be the driver of the changes in the local dust content within the crater. A comparison with the available methane measurements suggests that changes in the PBL depth may also be one of the factors that accounts for the observed variability, with the model results pointing towards a local source to the north of the MSL site. The interaction between regional and local flows at Gale Crater is also investigated assuming that the meridional wind, the dynamically important component of the horizontal wind at Gale, anomalies with respect to the daily mean can be approximated by a sinusoidal function as they typically oscillate between positive (south to north) and negative (north to south) values that correspond to upslope/downslope or downslope/upslope regimes along the crater rim and Mount Sharp slopes and the dichotomy boundary. The smallest magnitudes are found in the northern crater floor in a region that

  9. Role of impact cratering for Mars sample return

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Schultz, P.H.

    1988-01-01

    The preserved cratering record of Mars indicates that impacts play an important role in deciphering Martian geologic history, whether as a mechanism to modify the lithosphere and atmosphere or as a tool to sample the planet. The various roles of impact cratering in adding a broader understanding of Mars through returned samples are examined. Five broad roles include impact craters as: (1) a process in response to a different planetary localizer environment; (2) a probe for excavating crustal/mantle materials; (3) a possible localizer of magmatic and hydrothermal processes; (4) a chronicle of changes in the volcanic, sedimentary, atmospheric, and cosmic flux history; and (5) a chronometer for extending the geologic time scale to unsampled regions. The evidence for Earth-like processes and very nonlunar styles of volcanism and tectonism may shift the emphasis of a sampling strategy away from equally fundamental issues including crustal composition, unit ages, and climate history. Impact cratering not only played an important active role in the early Martian geologic history, it also provides an important tool for addressing such issues

  10. The Vertical Dust Profile Over Gale Crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Guzewich, Scott D.; Newman, C. E.; Smith, M. D.; Moores, J. E.; Smith, C. L.; Moore, C.; Richardson, M. I.; Kass, D.; Kleinböhl, A.; Mischna, M.; Martín-Torres, F. J.; Zorzano-Mier, M.-P.; Battalio, M.

    2017-12-01

    We create a vertically coarse, but complete, profile of dust mixing ratio from the surface to the upper atmosphere over Gale Crater, Mars, using the frequent joint atmospheric observations of the orbiting Mars Climate Sounder (MCS) and the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover. Using these data and an estimate of planetary boundary layer (PBL) depth from the MarsWRF general circulation model, we divide the vertical column into three regions. The first region is the Gale Crater PBL, the second is the MCS-sampled region, and the third is between these first two. We solve for a well-mixed dust mixing ratio within this third (middle) layer of atmosphere to complete the profile. We identify a unique seasonal cycle of dust within each atmospheric layer. Within the Gale PBL, dust mixing ratio maximizes near southern hemisphere summer solstice (Ls = 270°) and minimizes near winter solstice (Ls = 90-100°) with a smooth sinusoidal transition between them. However, the layer above Gale Crater and below the MCS-sampled region more closely follows the global opacity cycle and has a maximum in opacity near Ls = 240° and exhibits a local minimum (associated with the "solsticial pause" in dust storm activity) near Ls = 270°. With knowledge of the complete vertical dust profile, we can also assess the frequency of high-altitude dust layers over Gale. We determine that 36% of MCS profiles near Gale Crater contain an "absolute" high-altitude dust layer wherein the dust mixing ratio is the maximum in the entire vertical column.

  11. The Links Between Target Properties and Layered Ejecta Craters in Acidalia and Utopia Planitiae Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jones, E.; Osinski, G. R.

    2013-08-01

    Layered ejecta craters on Mars may form from excavation into subsurface volatiles. We examine a new catalogue of martian craters to decipher differences between the single- and double-layered ejecta populations in Acidalia and Utopia.

  12. Continued monitoring of aeolian activity within Herschel Crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cardinale, Marco; Pozzobon, Riccardo; Michaels, Timothy; Bourke, Mary C.; Okubo, Chris H.; Chiara Tangari, Anna; Marinangeli, Lucia

    2017-04-01

    In this work, we study a dark dune field on the western side of Herschel crater, a 300 km diameter impact basin located near the Martian equator (14.4°S, 130°E), where the ripple and dune motion reflects the actual atmospheric wind conditions. We develop an integrated analysis using (1) automated ripple mapping that yields ripple orientations and evaluates the spatial variation of actual atmospheric wind conditions within the dunes, (2) an optical cross-correlation that allows us to quantify an average ripple migration rate of 0.42 m per Mars year, and (3) mesoscale climate modeling with which we compare the observed aeolian changes with modeled wind stresses and directions. Our observations are consistent with previous work [1] [2] that detected aeolian activity in the western part of the crater. It also demonstrates that not only are the westerly Herschel dunes movable, but that predominant winds from the north are able to keep the ripples and dunes active within most (if not all) of Herschel crater in the current atmospheric conditions. References: [1] Cardinale, M., Silvestro, S., Vaz, D.A., Michaels, T., Bourke, M.C., Komatsu, G., Marinangeli, L., 2016. Present-day aeolian activity in Herschel Crater, Mars. Icarus 265, 139-148. doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2015.10.022. [2] Runyon, K.D., Bridges, N.T., Ayoub, F., Newman, C.E. and Quade, J.J., 2017. An integrated model for dune morphology and sand fluxes on Mars. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 457, pp.204-212.

  13. Redox stratification of an ancient lake in Gale crater, Mars.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hurowitz, J A; Grotzinger, J P; Fischer, W W; McLennan, S M; Milliken, R E; Stein, N; Vasavada, A R; Blake, D F; Dehouck, E; Eigenbrode, J L; Fairén, A G; Frydenvang, J; Gellert, R; Grant, J A; Gupta, S; Herkenhoff, K E; Ming, D W; Rampe, E B; Schmidt, M E; Siebach, K L; Stack-Morgan, K; Sumner, D Y; Wiens, R C

    2017-06-02

    In 2012, NASA's Curiosity rover landed on Mars to assess its potential as a habitat for past life and investigate the paleoclimate record preserved by sedimentary rocks inside the ~150-kilometer-diameter Gale impact crater. Geological reconstructions from Curiosity rover data have revealed an ancient, habitable lake environment fed by rivers draining into the crater. We synthesize geochemical and mineralogical data from lake-bed mudstones collected during the first 1300 martian solar days of rover operations in Gale. We present evidence for lake redox stratification, established by depth-dependent variations in atmospheric oxidant and dissolved-solute concentrations. Paleoclimate proxy data indicate that a transition from colder to warmer climate conditions is preserved in the stratigraphy. Finally, a late phase of geochemical modification by saline fluids is recognized. Copyright © 2017, American Association for the Advancement of Science.

  14. Redox stratification of an ancient lake in Gale crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hurowitz, J. A.; Grotzinger, J. P.; Fischer, W. W.; McLennan, S. M.; Milliken, R. E.; Stein, N.; Vasavada, A. R.; Blake, D. F.; Dehouck, E.; Eigenbrode, J. L.; Fairén, A. G.; Frydenvang, J.; Gellert, R.; Grant, J. A.; Gupta, S.; Herkenhoff, K. E.; Ming, D. W.; Rampe, E. B.; Schmidt, M. E.; Siebach, K. L.; Stack-Morgan, K.; Sumner, D. Y.; Wiens, R. C.

    2017-06-01

    In 2012, NASA's Curiosity rover landed on Mars to assess its potential as a habitat for past life and investigate the paleoclimate record preserved by sedimentary rocks inside the ~150-kilometer-diameter Gale impact crater. Geological reconstructions from Curiosity rover data have revealed an ancient, habitable lake environment fed by rivers draining into the crater. We synthesize geochemical and mineralogical data from lake-bed mudstones collected during the first 1300 martian solar days of rover operations in Gale. We present evidence for lake redox stratification, established by depth-dependent variations in atmospheric oxidant and dissolved-solute concentrations. Paleoclimate proxy data indicate that a transition from colder to warmer climate conditions is preserved in the stratigraphy. Finally, a late phase of geochemical modification by saline fluids is recognized.

  15. Fluvial Volumes, Timescales, and Intermittency in Milna Crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Buhler, P.; Fassett, C. I.; Head, J. W.; Lamb, M. P.

    2017-01-01

    Ancient lake deposits and valley networks on Mars provide strong evidence that its surface was once modified by liquid water, but the extent of that modification is still debated. Ancient lacustrine deposits in Milna Crater provide insight into the timescale and fluid volume required to construct fluvially derived sedimentary deposits near the Noachian-Hesperian boundary. Placing the lacustrine deposits their regional context in Paraná Valles provides a quantitative measurement of the intermittency of large, water-mediated sediment transport events in that region.

  16. Mars methane detection and variability at Gale crater

    Science.gov (United States)

    Webster, Christopher R.; Mahaffy, Paul R.; Atreya, Sushil K.; Flesch, Gregory J.; Mischna, Michael A.; Meslin, Pierre-Yves; Farley, Kenneth A.; Conrad, Pamela G.; Christensen, Lance E.; Pavlov, Alexander A.; Martín-Torres, Javier; Zorzano, María-Paz; McConnochie, Timothy H.; Owen, Tobias; Eigenbrode, Jennifer L.; Glavin, Daniel P.; Steele, Andrew; Malespin, Charles A.; Archer, P. Douglas; Sutter, Brad; Coll, Patrice; Freissinet, Caroline; McKay, Christopher P.; Moores, John E.; Schwenzer, Susanne P.; Bridges, John C.; Navarro-Gonzalez, Rafael; Gellert, Ralf; Lemmon, Mark T.; MSL Science Team; Abbey, William; Achilles, Cherie; Agard, Christophe; Alexandre Alves Verdasca, José; Anderson, Dana; Anderson, Robert C.; Anderson, Ryan B.; Appel, Jan Kristoffer; Archer, Paul Douglas; Arevalo, Ricardo; Armiens-Aparicio, Carlos; Arvidson, Raymond; Atlaskin, Evgeny; Atreya, Andrew Sushil; Azeez, Aubrey Sherif; Baker, Burt; Baker, Michael; Balic-Zunic, Tonci; Baratoux, David; Baroukh, Julien; Barraclough, Bruce; Battalio, Michael; Beach, Michael; Bean, Keri; Beck, Pierre; Becker, Richard; Beegle, Luther; Behar, Alberto; Belgacem, Inès; Bell, James F., III; Bender, Steven; Benna, Mehdi; Bentz, Jennifer; Berger, Jeffrey; Berger, Thomas; Berlanga, Genesis; Berman, Daniel; Bish, David; Blacksberg, Jordana; Blake, David F.; José Blanco, Juan; Blaney, Ávalos Diana; Blank, Jennifer; Blau, Hannah; Bleacher, Lora; Boehm, Eckart; Bonnet, Jean-Yves; Botta, Oliver; Böttcher, Stephan; Boucher, Thomas; Bower, Hannah; Boyd, Nick; Boynton, William; Braswell, Shaneen; Breves, Elly; Bridges, John C.; Bridges, Nathan; Brinckerhoff, William; Brinza, David; Bristow, Thomas; Brunet, Claude; Brunner, Anna; Brunner, Will; Buch, Arnaud; Bullock, Mark; Burmeister, Sönke; Burton, John; Buz, Jennifer; Cabane, Michel; Calef, Fred; Cameron, James; Campbell, John L.; Cantor, Bruce; Caplinger, Michael; Clifton, Carey, Jr.; Caride Rodríguez, Javier; Carmosino, Marco; Carrasco Blázquez, Isaías; Cavanagh, Patrick; Charpentier, Antoine; Chipera, Steve; Choi, David; Christensen, Lance; Clark, Benton; Clegg, Sam; Cleghorn, Timothy; Cloutis, Ed; Cody, George; Coll, Patrice; Coman, Ecaterina I.; Conrad, Pamela; Coscia, David; Cousin, Agnès; Cremers, David; Crisp, Joy A.; Cropper, Kevin; Cros, Alain; Cucinotta, Francis; d'Uston, Claude; Davis, Scott; Day, Mackenzie; Daydou, Yves; DeFlores, Lauren; Dehouck, Erwin; Delapp, Dorothea; DeMarines, Julia; Dequaire, Tristan; Des Marais, David; Desrousseaux, Roch; Dietrich, William; Dingler, Robert; Domagal-Goldman, Shawn; Donny, Christophe; Downs, Robert; Drake, Darrell; Dromart, Gilles; Dupont, Audrey; Duston, Brian; Dworkin, Jason P.; Dyar, M. Darby; Edgar, Lauren; Edgett, Kenneth; Edwards, Christopher S.; Edwards, Laurence; Edwards, Peter; Ehlmann, Bethany; Ehresmann, Bent; Eigenbrode, Jennifer; Elliott, Beverley; Elliott, Harvey; Ewing, Ryan; Fabre, Cécile; Fairén, Alberto; Fairén, Alberto; Farley, Kenneth; Farmer, Jack; Fassett, Caleb; Favot, Laurent; Fay, Donald; Fedosov, Fedor; Feldman, Jason; Fendrich, Kim; Fischer, Erik; Fisk, Martin; Fitzgibbon, Mike; Flesch, Gregory; Floyd, Melissa; Flückiger, Lorenzo; Forni, Olivier; Fox, Valerie; Fraeman, Abigail; Francis, Raymond; François, Pascaline; Franz, Heather; Freissinet, Caroline; French, Katherine Louise; Frydenvang, Jens; Garvin, James; Gasnault, Olivier; Geffroy, Claude; Gellert, Ralf; Genzer, Maria; Getty, Stephanie; Glavin, Daniel; Godber, Austin; Goesmann, Fred; Goetz, Walter; Golovin, Dmitry; Gómez Gómez, Felipe; Gómez-Elvira, Javier; Gondet, Brigitte; Gordon, Suzanne; Gorevan, Stephen; Graham, Heather; Grant, John; Grinspoon, David; Grotzinger, John; Guillemot, Philippe; Guo, Jingnan; Gupta, Sanjeev; Guzewich, Scott; Haberle, Robert; Halleaux, Douglas; Hallet, Bernard; Hamilton, Victoria; Hand, Kevin; Hardgrove, Craig; Hardy, Keian; Harker, David; Harpold, Daniel; Harri, Ari-Matti; Harshman, Karl; Hassler, Donald; Haukka, Harri; Hayes, Alexander; Herkenhoff, Kenneth; Herrera, Paul; Hettrich, Sebastian; Heydari, Ezat; Hipkin, Victoria; Hoehler, Tori; Hollingsworth, Jeff; Hudgins, Judy; Huntress, Wesley; Hurowitz, Joel; Hviid, Stubbe; Iagnemma, Karl; Indyk, Stephen; Israël, Guy; Jackson, Ryan Steele; Jacob, Samantha; Jakosky, Bruce; Jean-Rigaud, Laurent; Jensen, Elsa; Kløvgaard Jensen, Jaqueline; Johnson, Jeffrey R.; Johnson, Micah; Johnstone, Stephen; Jones, Andrea; Jones, John H.; Joseph, Jonathan; Joulin, Mélissa; Jun, Insoo; Kah, Linda C.; Kahanpää, Henrik; Kahre, Melinda; Kaplan, Hannah; Karpushkina, Natalya; Kashyap, Srishti; Kauhanen, Janne; Keely, Leslie; Kelley, Simon; Kempe, Fabian; Kemppinen, Osku; Kennedy, Megan R.; Keymeulen, Didier; Kharytonov, Alexander; Kim, Myung-Hee; Kinch, Kjartan; King, Penelope; Kirk, Randolph; Kirkland, Laurel; Kloos, Jacob; Kocurek, Gary; Koefoed, Asmus; Köhler, Jan; Kortmann, Onno; Kotrc, Benjamin; Kozyrev, Alexander; Krau, Johannes; Krezoski, ß. Gillian; Kronyak, Rachel; Krysak, Daniel; Kuzmin, Ruslan; Lacour, Jean-Luc; Lafaille, Vivian; Langevin, Yves; Lanza, Nina; Lapôtre, Mathieu; Larif, Marie-France; Lasue, Jérémie; Le Deit, Laetitia; Le Mouélic, Stéphane; Lee, Ella Mae; Lee, Qiu-Mei; Lee, Rebekka; Lees, David; Lefavor, Matthew; Lemmon, Mark; Lepinette, Alain; Lepore, Malvitte Kate; Leshin, Laurie; Léveillé, Richard; Lewin, Éric; Lewis, Kevin; Li, Shuai; Lichtenberg, Kimberly; Lipkaman, Leslie; Lisov, Denis; Little, Cynthia; Litvak, Maxim; Liu, Lu; Lohf, Henning; Lorigny, Eric; Lugmair, Günter; Lundberg, Angela; Lyness, Eric; Madsen, Morten Bo; Magee, Angela; Mahaffy, Paul; Maki, Justin; Mäkinen, Teemu; Malakhov, Alexey; Malespin, Charles; Malin, Michael; Mangold, Nicolas; Manhes, Gerard; Manning, Heidi; Marchand, Geneviève; Marín Jiménez, Mercedes; Martín García, César; Martin, David K.; Martin, Mildred; Martin, Peter; Martínez Martínez, Germán; Martínez-Frías, Jesús; Martín-Sauceda, Jaime; Martín-Soler, Martín Javier; Martín-Torres, F. Javier; Mason, Emily; Matthews, Tristan; Matthiä, Daniel; Mauchien, Patrick; Maurice, Sylvestre; McAdam, Amy; McBride, Marie; McCartney, Elaina; McConnochie, Timothy; McCullough, Emily; McEwan, Ian; McKay, Christopher; McLain, Hannah; McLennan, Scott; McNair, Sean; Melikechi, Noureddine; Mendaza de Cal, Teresa; Merikallio, Sini; Merritt, Sean; Meslin, Pierre-Yves; Meyer, Michael; Mezzacappa, Alissa; Milkovich, Sarah; Millan, Maëva; Miller, Hayden; Miller, Kristen; Milliken, Ralph; Ming, Douglas; Minitti, Michelle; Mischna, Michael; Mitchell, Julie; Mitrofanov, Igor; Moersch, Jeffrey; Mokrousov, Maxim; Molina, Antonio; Moore, Jurado Casey; Moores, John E.; Mora-Sotomayor, Luis; Moreno, Gines; Morookian, John Michael; Morris, Richard V.; Morrison, Shaunna; Mousset, Valérie; Mrigakshi, Alankrita; Mueller-Mellin, Reinhold; Muller, Jan-Peter; Muñoz Caro, Guillermo; Nachon, Marion; Nastan, Abbey; Navarro López, Sara; Navarro González, Rafael; Nealson, Kenneth; Nefian, Ara; Nelson, Tony; Newcombe, Megan; Newman, Claire; Newsom, Horton; Nikiforov, Sergey; Nikitczuk, Matthew; Niles, Paul; Nixon, Brian; Noblet, Audrey; Noe, Eldar; Nolan, Dobrea Thomas; Oehler, Dorothy; Ollila, Ann; Olson, Timothy; Orthen, Tobias; Owen, Tobias; Ozanne, Marie; de Pablo Hernández, Miguel Ángel; Pagel, Hannah; Paillet, Alexis; Pallier, Etienne; Palucis, Marisa; Parker, Timothy; Parot, Yann; Parra, Alex; Patel, Kiran; Paton, Mark; Paulsen, Gale; Pavlov, Alexander; Pavri, Betina; Peinado-González, Verónica; Pepin, Robert; Peret, Laurent; Pérez, René; Perrett, Glynis; Peterson, Joseph; Pilorget, Cedric; Pinet, Patrick; Pinnick, Veronica; Pla-García, Jorge; Plante, Ianik; Poitrasson, Franck; Polkko, Jouni; Popa, Radu; Posiolova, Liliya; Posner, Arik; Pradler, Irina; Prats, Benito; Prokhorov, Vasily; Raaen, Eric; Radziemski, Leon; Rafkin, Scot; Ramos, Miguel; Rampe, Elizabeth; Rapin, William; Raulin, François; Ravine, Michael; Reitz, Günther; Ren, Jun; Rennó, Nilton; Rice, Melissa; Richardson, Mark; Ritter, Birgit; Rivera-Hernández, Frances; Robert, François; Robertson, Kevin; Rodriguez Manfredi, José Antonio; José Romeral-Planelló, Julio; Rowland, Scott; Rubin, David; Saccoccio, Muriel; Said, David; Salamon, Andrew; Sanin, Anton; Sans Fuentes, Sara Alejandra; Saper, Lee; Sarrazin, Philippe; Sautter, Violaine; Savijärvi, Hannu; Schieber, Juergen; Schmidt, Mariek; Schmidt, Walter; Scholes, Daniel; Schoppers, Marcel; Schröder, Susanne; Schwenzer, Susanne P.; Sciascia Borlina, Cauê; Scodary, Anthony; Sebastián Martínez, Eduardo; Sengstacken, Aaron; Shechet, Jennifer Griffes; Shterts, Ruslan; Siebach, Kirsten; Siili, Tero; Simmonds, John J.; Sirven, Jean-Baptiste; Slavney, Susan; Sletten, Ronald; Smith, Michael D.; Sobron Sanchez, Pablo; Spanovich, Nicole; Spray, John; Spring, Justin; Squyres, Steven; Stack, Katie; Stalport, Fabien; Starr, Richard; Stein, Andrew Steele Thomas; Stern, Jennifer; Stewart, Noel; Stewart, Wayne; Stipp, Svane Susan Louise; Stoiber, Kevin; Stolper, Edward; Sucharski, Robert; Sullivan, Robert; Summons, Roger; Sumner, Dawn Y.; Sun, Vivian; Supulver, Kimberley; Sutter, Brad; Szopa, Cyril; Tan, Florence; Tate, Christopher; Teinturier, Samuel; ten Kate, Inge Loes; Thomas, Alicia; Thomas, Peter; Thompson, Lucy; Thuillier, Franck; Thulliez, Emmanual; Tokar, Robert; Toplis, Michael; de la Torre Juárez, Manuel; Torres Redondo, Josefina; Trainer, Melissa; Treiman, Allan; Tretyakov, Vladislav; Ullán-Nieto, Aurora; Urqui-O'Callaghan, Roser; Valentín-Serrano, Patricia; Van Beek, Jason; Van Beek, Tessa; VanBommel, Scott; Vaniman, David; Varenikov, Alexey; Vasavada, Ashwin R.; Vasconcelos, Paulo; de Vicente-Retortillo Rubalcaba, Álvaro; Vicenzi, Edward; Vostrukhin, Andrey; Voytek, Mary; Wadhwa, Meenakshi; Ward, Jennifer; Watkins, Jessica; Webster, Christopher R.; Weigle, Gerald; Wellington, Danika; Westall, Frances; Wiens, Roger; Wilhelm, Mary Beth; Williams, Amy; Williams, Joshua; Williams, Rebecca; Williams, Richard B.; Williford, Kenneth; Wilson, Michael A.; Wilson, Sharon A.; Wimmer-Schweingruber, Robert; Wolff, Michael; Wong, Michael; Wray, James; Yana, Charles; Yen, Albert; Yingst, Aileen; Zeitlin, Cary; Zimdar, Robert; Zorzano Mier, María-Paz

    2015-01-01

    Reports of plumes or patches of methane in the martian atmosphere that vary over monthly time scales have defied explanation to date. From in situ measurements made over a 20-month period by the tunable laser spectrometer of the Sample Analysis at Mars instrument suite on Curiosity at Gale crater, we report detection of background levels of atmospheric methane of mean value 0.69 ± 0.25 parts per billion by volume (ppbv) at the 95% confidence interval (CI). This abundance is lower than model estimates of ultraviolet degradation of accreted interplanetary dust particles or carbonaceous chondrite material. Additionally, in four sequential measurements spanning a 60-sol period (where 1 sol is a martian day), we observed elevated levels of methane of 7.2 ± 2.1 ppbv (95% CI), implying that Mars is episodically producing methane from an additional unknown source.

  17. The origin and timing of fluvial activity at Eberswalde crater, Mars

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Mangold, N.; Kite, E.S.; Kleinhans, M.G.; Newsom, H.; Ansan, V.; Hauber, E.; Kraal, E.; Quantin, C.; Tanaka, K.

    The fan deposit in Eberswalde crater has been interpreted as strong evidence for sustained liquid water on early Mars with a paleolake formed during the Noachian period (>3.7 Gy). This location became a key region for understanding the Mars paleo-environment. Eberswalde crater is located 50 km north

  18. Mineralogy of an active eolian sediment from the Namib dune, Gale crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Achilles, C. N.; Downs, R. T.; Ming, D. W.; Rampe, E. B.; Morris, R. V.; Treiman, A. H.; Morrison, S. M.; Blake, D. F.; Vaniman, D. T.; Ewing, R. C.; Chipera, S. J.; Yen, A. S.; Bristow, T. F.; Ehlmann, B. L.; Gellert, R.; Hazen, R. M.; Fendrich, K. V.; Craig, P. I.; Grotzinger, J. P.; Des Marais, D. J.; Farmer, J. D.; Sarrazin, P. C.; Morookian, J. M.

    2017-11-01

    The Mars Science Laboratory rover, Curiosity, is using a comprehensive scientific payload to explore rocks and soils in Gale crater, Mars. Recent investigations of the Bagnold Dune Field provided the first in situ assessment of an active dune on Mars. The Chemistry and Mineralogy (CheMin) X-ray diffraction instrument on Curiosity performed quantitative mineralogical analyses of the Mars.

  19. The Hydrological Evolution of Mars as Recorded at Gale Crater

    Science.gov (United States)

    Andrews-Hanna, J. C.; Horvath, D. G.

    2017-12-01

    The sedimentary deposits making up the Aeolis Mons sedimentary mound within Gale Crater preserve a record of the evolving hydrology and climate of Mars during the Late Noachian and Hesperian epochs. Aqueous sedimentary deposits including mudstones, deltaic deposits, and sulfate-cemented sediments indicate the past presence of liquid water on the surface. However, these observations alone do not strictly constrain the nature of the hydrology and climate at the time of deposition. We use models of the subsurface and surface hydrology to shed light on the conditions required to reproduce the observed deposits. Changes in the nature and composition of the deposits reflect changes in the balance between the surface and subsurface components of the hydrological cycle, driven by climate changes. Mudstones observed by the MSL rover at the base of the crater reflect lacustrine deposition under semi-arid conditions, with substantial fluid supply from both the surface (overland flow and direct precipitation) and subsurface. A transition at higher stratigraphic levels to sulfate-cemented sandstones required a change to a more arid climate, with the hydrology dominated by long-distance subsurface transport. Near the top of the mound, unaltered deposits indicate deposition under dry conditions, though this transition coincides with the natural limit on the rise of the water table imposed by the surrounding topography and does not require a change in climate. Erosion of the crater-filling sedimentary deposits to their present mound shape required a dramatic drop in the water table under hyper-arid conditions. Evidence for later lake stands in the Hesperian indicates transient returns to semi-arid conditions similar to those that prevailed during the Late Noachian. By coupling surface and orbital observations with hydrological modeling, we are able to make more specific constraints on the evolving climate and aridity of early Mars.

  20. Experimental delta formation in crater lakes and implications for interpretation of martian deltas

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Villiers, G. de; Kleinhans, M.G.; Postma, G.

    2013-01-01

    The morphology of delta deposits in crater lakes on Mars is indicative of upstream (e.g., flow discharge and sediment properties) and downstream (e.g., basin characteristics) parameters, from which the hydrological conditions at the time of formation can be inferred. To investigate the influences of

  1. Physical Modeling of Flow Over Gale Crater, Mars: Laboratory Measurements of Basin Secondary Circulations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bristow, N.; Blois, G.; Kim, T.; Anderson, W.; Day, M. D.; Kocurek, G.; Christensen, K. T.

    2017-12-01

    Impact craters, common large-scale topographic features on the surface of Mars, are circular depressions delimited by a sharp ridge. A variety of crater fill morphologies exist, suggesting that complex intracrater circulations affect their evolution. Some large craters (diameter > 10 km), particularly at mid latitudes on Mars, exhibit a central mound surrounded by circular moat. Foremost among these examples is Gale crater, landing site of NASA's Curiosity rover, since large-scale climatic processes early in in the history of Mars are preserved in the stratigraphic record of the inner mound. Investigating the intracrater flow produced by large scale winds aloft Mars craters is key to a number of important scientific issues including ongoing research on Mars paleo-environmental reconstruction and the planning of future missions (these results must be viewed in conjunction with the affects of radial katabatibc flows, the importance of which is already established in preceding studies). In this work we consider a number of crater shapes inspired by Gale morphology, including idealized craters. Access to the flow field within such geometrically complex topography is achieved herein using a refractive index matched approach. Instantaneous velocity maps, using both planar and volumetric PIV techniques, are presented to elucidate complex three-dimensional flow within the crater. In addition, first- and second-order statistics will be discussed in the context of wind-driven (aeolian) excavation of crater fill.

  2. Mineralogy of an Active Eolian Sediment from the Namib Dune, Gale Crater, Mars

    OpenAIRE

    Achilles, C. N.; Downs, R. T.; Ming, D. W.; Rampe, E. B.; Morris, R. V.; Treiman, A. H.; Morrison, S. M.; Blake, D. F.; Vaniman, D. T.; Ewing, R. C.; Chipera, S. J.; Yen, A. S.; Bristow, T. F.; Ehlmann, B. L.; Gellert, R.

    2017-01-01

    The Mars Science Laboratory rover, Curiosity, is using a comprehensive scientific payload to explore rocks and soils in Gale crater, Mars. Recent investigations of the Bagnold Dune Field provided the first in situ assessment of an active dune on Mars. The Chemistry and Mineralogy (CheMin) X-ray diffraction instrument on Curiosity performed quantitative mineralogical analyses of the

  3. Mars exploration rover geologic traverse by the spirit rover in the plains of Gusev crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Crumpler, L.S.; Squyres, S. W.; Arvidson, R. E.; Bell, J.F.; Blaney, D.; Cabrol, N.A.; Christensen, P.R.; DesMarais, D.J.; Farmer, J.D.; Fergason, R.; Golombek, M.P.; Grant, F.D.; Grant, J. A.; Greeley, R.; Hahn, B.; Herkenhoff, K. E.; Hurowitz, J.A.; Knudson, A.T.; Landis, G.A.; Li, R.; Maki, J.; McSween, H.Y.; Ming, D. W.; Moersch, J.E.; Payne, M.C.; Rice, J.W.; Richter, L.; Ruff, S.W.; Sims, M.; Thompson, S.D.; Tosca, N.; Wang, A.; Whelley, P.; Wright, S.P.; Wyatt, M.B.

    2005-01-01

    The Spirit rover completed a 2.5 km traverse across gently sloping plains on the floor of Gusev crater from its location on the outer rim of Bonneville crater to the lower slopes of the Columbia Hills, Mars. Using the Athena suite of instruments in a transect approach, a systematic series of overlapping panoramic mosaics, remote sensing observations, surface analyses, and trenching operations documented the lateral variations in landforms, geologic materials, and chemistry of the surface throughout the traverse, demonstrating the ability to apply the techniques of field geology by remote rover operations. Textures and shapes of rocks within the plains are consistent with derivation from impact excavation and mixing of the upper few meters of basaltic lavas. The contact between surrounding plains and crater ejecta is generally abrupt and marked by increases in clast abundance and decimeter-scale steps in relief. Basaltic materials of the plains overlie less indurated and more altered rock types at a time-stratigraphic contact between the plains and Columbia Hills that occurs over a distance of one to two meters. This implies that regional geologic contacts are well preserved and that Earth-like field geologic mapping will be possible on Mars despite eons of overturn by small impacts. ?? 2005 Geological Society of America.

  4. Evidence for an explosive origin of central pit craters on Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Williams, Nathan R.; Bell, James F.; Christensen, Philip R.; Farmer, Jack D.

    2015-05-01

    Kilometer-scale pits are nested in the centers of many impact craters on Mars as well as on icy satellites. They have been inferred to form in the presence of a water-ice rich substrate; however, the process(es) responsible for their formation is still debated. Previous models invoke origins by either explosive excavation of potentially water-bearing crustal material, or by subsurface drainage of meltwater and/or collapse. If explosive excavation forms central pits, pit-derived ejecta should be draped around the pits, whereas internal collapse should not deposit significant material outside pit rims. Using visible wavelength images from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) Context Camera (CTX) and High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) instruments and thermal infrared images from the Odyssey Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) instrument, we conducted a survey to characterize, in detail, the global population of central pits in impact craters ⩾10 km in diameter. We specifically examined the morphology and thermophysical characteristics of the pits for evidence of pit ejecta. Our analysis of thermal images suggests that coarse-grained materials are distributed proximally around many central pits on the floors of their host craters. The decrease in average grain size with distance from pit rims is consistent with pit-derived ejecta. These observations and interpretations better support an explosive origin for central pits on Mars than they do an origin of subsurface meltwater drainage and collapse of the overlying substrate. A major weakness to previous explosive central pit formation models is the inability for them to form pits late enough in the impact process to be preserved. To address this, we present an alternative "melt contact model" where a central uplift brings ice-bearing substrate into contact with impact melt to generate steam explosions and excavate central pits during the impact modification stage. Theoretical calculations show

  5. Timing and Distribution of Single-Layered Ejecta Craters Imply Sporadic Preservation of Tropical Subsurface Ice on Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kirchoff, Michelle R.; Grimm, Robert E.

    2018-01-01

    Determining the evolution of tropical subsurface ice is a key component to understanding Mars's climate and geologic history. Study of an intriguing crater type on Mars—layered ejecta craters, which likely form by tapping subsurface ice—may provide constraints on this evolution. Layered ejecta craters have a continuous ejecta deposit with a fluidized-flow appearance. Single-layered ejecta (SLE) craters are the most common and dominate at tropical latitudes and therefore offer the best opportunity to derive new constraints on the temporal evolution of low-latitude subsurface ice. We estimate model formation ages of 54 SLE craters with diameter (D) ≥ 5 km using the density of small, superposed craters with D D 1 km indicates that ice could be preserved as shallow as 100 m or less at those locations. Finally, there is a striking spatial mixing in an area of highlands near the equator of layered and radial (lunar-like ballistic) ejecta craters; the latter form where there are insufficient concentrations of subsurface ice. This implies strong spatial heterogeneity in the concentration of tropical subsurface ice.

  6. High concentrations of manganese and sulfur in deposits on Murray Ridge, Endeavour Crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Arvidson, Raymond E.; Squyres, Steven W.; Morris, Richard V.; Knoll, Andrew H.; Gellert, Ralf; Clark, Benton C.; Catalano, Jeffrey G.; Jolliff, Bradley L.; McLennan, Scott M.; Herkenhoff, Kenneth E.; VanBommel, Scott; Mittelfehldt, David W.; Grotzinger, John P.; Guinness, Edward A.; Johnson, Jeffrey R.; Bell, James F.; Farrand, William H.; Stein, Nathan; Fox, Valerie K.; Golombek, Matthew P.; Hinkle, Margaret A. G.; Calvin, Wendy M.; de Souza, Paulo A.

    2016-01-01

    Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter HiRISE images and Opportunity rover observations of the ~22 km wide Noachian age Endeavour Crater on Mars show that the rim and surrounding terrains were densely fractured during the impact crater-forming event. Fractures have also propagated upward into the overlying Burns formation sandstones. Opportunity’s observations show that the western crater rim segment, called Murray Ridge, is composed of impact breccias with basaltic compositions, as well as occasional fracture-filling calcium sulfate veins. Cook Haven, a gentle depression on Murray Ridge, and the site where Opportunity spent its sixth winter, exposes highly fractured, recessive outcrops that have relatively high concentrations of S and Cl, consistent with modest aqueous alteration. Opportunity’s rover wheels serendipitously excavated and overturned several small rocks from a Cook Haven fracture zone. Extensive measurement campaigns were conducted on two of them: Pinnacle Island and Stuart Island. These rocks have the highest concentrations of Mn and S measured to date by Opportunity and occur as a relatively bright sulfate-rich coating on basaltic rock, capped by a thin deposit of one or more dark Mn oxide phases intermixed with sulfate minerals. We infer from these unique Pinnacle Island and Stuart Island rock measurements that subsurface precipitation of sulfate-dominated coatings was followed by an interval of partial dissolution and reaction with one or more strong oxidants (e.g., O2) to produce the Mn oxide mineral(s) intermixed with sulfate-rich salt coatings. In contrast to arid regions on Earth, where Mn oxides are widely incorporated into coatings on surface rocks, our results demonstrate that on Mars the most likely place to deposit and preserve Mn oxides was in fracture zones where migrating fluids intersected surface oxidants, forming precipitates shielded from subsequent physical erosion.

  7. Deposition, exhumation, and paleoclimate of an ancient lake deposit, Gale crater, Mars

    OpenAIRE

    Grotzinger, JP; Gupta, S; Malin, MC; Rubin, DM; Schieber, J; Siebach, K; Sumner, DY; Stack, KM; Vasavada, AR; Arvidson, RE; Calef, F; Edgar, L; Fischer, WF; Grant, JA; Griffes, J

    2015-01-01

    The landforms of northern Gale crater on Mars expose thick sequences of sedimentary rocks. Based on images obtained by the Curiosity rover, we interpret these outcrops as evidence for past fluvial, deltaic, and lacustrine environments. Degradation of the crater wall and rim probably supplied these sediments, which advanced inward from the wall, infilling both the crater and an internal lake basin to a thickness of at least 75 meters. This intracrater lake system probably existed intermittentl...

  8. Geological Cartography of Inner Materials of an Impact Crater on Nepenthes Mensae, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Valenciano, A.; de Pablo, M. A.

    2012-03-01

    We present the geological map and a brief description of the materials, its geological history and an approach to their astrobiological and exopaleontological implications from sedimentary materials located into impact crater, in Nepenthes Mensae, Mars.

  9. Curiosity at Gale Crater, Mars: Characterization and Analysis of the Rocknest Sand Shadow

    Science.gov (United States)

    Blake, D. F.; Morris, R. V.; Kocurek, G.; Morrison, S. M.; Downs, R. T.; Bish, D.; Ming, D. W.; Edgett, K. S.; Rubin, D.; Goetz, W.; Madsen, M. B.; Sullivan, R.; Gellert, R.; Campbell, I.; Treiman, A. H.; McLennan, S. M.; Yen, A. S.; Grotzinger, J.; Vaniman, D. T.; Chipera, S. J.; Achilles, C. N.; Rampe, E. B.; Sumner, D.; Meslin, P.-Y.; Maurice, S.; Forni, O.; Gasnault, O.; Fisk, M.; Schmidt, M.; Mahaffy, P.; Leshin, L. A.; Glavin, D.; Steele, A.; Freissinet, C.; Navarro-González, R.; Yingst, R. A.; Kah, L. C.; Bridges, N.; Lewis, K. W.; Bristow, T. F.; Farmer, J. D.; Crisp, J. A.; Stolper, E. M.; Des Marais, D. J.; Sarrazin, P.; Agard, Christophe; Alves Verdasca, José Alexandre; Anderson, Robert; Anderson, Ryan; Archer, Doug; Armiens-Aparicio, Carlos; Arvidson, Ray; Atlaskin, Evgeny; Atreya, Sushil; Aubrey, Andrew; Baker, Burt; Baker, Michael; Balic-Zunic, Tonci; Baratoux, David; Baroukh, Julien; Barraclough, Bruce; Bean, Keri; Beegle, Luther; Behar, Alberto; Bell, James; Bender, Steve; Benna, Mehdi; Bentz, Jennifer; Berger, Gilles; Berger, Jeff; Berman, Daniel; Blanco Avalos, Juan Jose; Blaney, Diana; Blank, Jen; Blau, Hannah; Bleacher, Lora; Boehm, Eckart; Botta, Oliver; Böttcher, Stephan; Boucher, Thomas; Bower, Hannah; Boyd, Nick; Boynton, Bill; Breves, Elly; Bridges, John; Brinckerhoff, William; Brinza, David; Brunet, Claude; Brunner, Anna; Brunner, Will; Buch, Arnaud; Bullock, Mark; Burmeister, Sönke; Cabane, Michel; Calef, Fred; Cameron, James; Cantor, Bruce; Caplinger, Michael; Rodríguez, Javier Caride; Carmosino, Marco; Blázquez, Isaías Carrasco; Charpentier, Antoine; Choi, David; Clark, Benton; Clegg, Sam; Cleghorn, Timothy; Cloutis, Ed; Cody, George; Coll, Patrice; Conrad, Pamela; Coscia, David; Cousin, Agnès; Cremers, David; Cros, Alain; Cucinotta, Frank; d'Uston, Claude; Davis, Scott; Day, Mackenzie; Juarez, Manuel de la Torre; DeFlores, Lauren; DeLapp, Dorothea; DeMarines, Julia; Dietrich, William; Dingler, Robert; Donny, Christophe; Drake, Darrell; Dromart, Gilles; Dupont, Audrey; Duston, Brian; Dworkin, Jason; Dyar, M. Darby; Edgar, Lauren; Edwards, Christopher; Edwards, Laurence; Ehlmann, Bethany; Ehresmann, Bent; Eigenbrode, Jen; Elliott, Beverley; Elliott, Harvey; Ewing, Ryan; Fabre, Cécile; Fairén, Alberto; Farley, Ken; Fassett, Caleb; Favot, Laurent; Fay, Donald; Fedosov, Fedor; Feldman, Jason; Feldman, Sabrina; Fitzgibbon, Mike; Flesch, Greg; Floyd, Melissa; Flückiger, Lorenzo; Fraeman, Abby; Francis, Raymond; François, Pascaline; Franz, Heather; French, Katherine Louise; Frydenvang, Jens; Gaboriaud, Alain; Gailhanou, Marc; Garvin, James; Geffroy, Claude; Genzer, Maria; Godber, Austin; Goesmann, Fred; Golovin, Dmitry; Gómez, Felipe Gómez; Gómez-Elvira, Javier; Gondet, Brigitte; Gordon, Suzanne; Gorevan, Stephen; Grant, John; Griffes, Jennifer; Grinspoon, David; Guillemot, Philippe; Guo, Jingnan; Gupta, Sanjeev; Guzewich, Scott; Haberle, Robert; Halleaux, Douglas; Hallet, Bernard; Hamilton, Vicky; Hardgrove, Craig; Harker, David; Harpold, Daniel; Harri, Ari-Matti; Harshman, Karl; Hassler, Donald; Haukka, Harri; Hayes, Alex; Herkenhoff, Ken; Herrera, Paul; Hettrich, Sebastian; Heydari, Ezat; Hipkin, Victoria; Hoehler, Tori; Hollingsworth, Jeff; Hudgins, Judy; Huntress, Wesley; Hurowitz, Joel; Hviid, Stubbe; Iagnemma, Karl; Indyk, Steve; Israël, Guy; Jackson, Ryan; Jacob, Samantha; Jakosky, Bruce; Jensen, Elsa; Jensen, Jaqueline Kløvgaard; Johnson, Jeffrey; Johnson, Micah; Johnstone, Steve; Jones, Andrea; Jones, John; Joseph, Jonathan; Jun, Insoo; Kahanpää, Henrik; Kahre, Melinda; Karpushkina, Natalya; Kasprzak, Wayne; Kauhanen, Janne; Keely, Leslie; Kemppinen, Osku; Keymeulen, Didier; Kim, Myung-Hee; Kinch, Kjartan; King, Penny; Kirkland, Laurel; Koefoed, Asmus; Köhler, Jan; Kortmann, Onno; Kozyrev, Alexander; Krezoski, Jill; Krysak, Daniel; Kuzmin, Ruslan; Lacour, Jean Luc; Lafaille, Vivian; Langevin, Yves; Lanza, Nina; Lasue, Jeremie; Le Mouélic, Stéphane; Lee, Ella Mae; Lee, Qiu-Mei; Lees, David; Lefavor, Matthew; Lemmon, Mark; Lepinette Malvitte, Alain; Léveillé, Richard; Lewin-Carpintier, Éric; Li, Shuai; Lipkaman, Leslie; Little, Cynthia; Litvak, Maxim; Lorigny, Eric; Lugmair, Guenter; Lundberg, Angela; Lyness, Eric; Maki, Justin; Malakhov, Alexey; Malespin, Charles; Malin, Michael; Mangold, Nicolas; Manning, Heidi; Marchand, Geneviève; Marín Jiménez, Mercedes; Martín García, César; Martin, Dave; Martin, Mildred; Martínez-Frías, Jesús; Martín-Soler, Javier; Martín-Torres, F. Javier; Mauchien, Patrick; McAdam, Amy; McCartney, Elaina; McConnochie, Timothy; McCullough, Emily; McEwan, Ian; McKay, Christopher; McNair, Sean; Melikechi, Noureddine; Meyer, Michael; Mezzacappa, Alissa; Miller, Hayden; Miller, Kristen; Milliken, Ralph; Minitti, Michelle; Mischna, Michael; Mitrofanov, Igor; Moersch, Jeff; Mokrousov, Maxim; Molina Jurado, Antonio; Moores, John; Mora-Sotomayor, Luis; Morookian, John Michael; Mueller-Mellin, Reinhold; Muller, Jan-Peter; Muñoz Caro, Guillermo; Nachon, Marion; Navarro López, Sara; Nealson, Kenneth; Nefian, Ara; Nelson, Tony; Newcombe, Megan; Newman, Claire; Newsom, Horton; Nikiforov, Sergey; Niles, Paul; Nixon, Brian; Dobrea, Eldar Noe; Nolan, Thomas; Oehler, Dorothy; Ollila, Ann; Olson, Timothy; Owen, Tobias; Pablo, Hernández; Paillet, Alexis; Pallier, Etienne; Palucis, Marisa; Parker, Timothy; Parot, Yann; Patel, Kiran; Paton, Mark; Paulsen, Gale; Pavlov, Alex; Pavri, Betina; Peinado-González, Verónica; Pepin, Robert; Peret, Laurent; Perez, Rene; Perrett, Glynis; Peterson, Joe; Pilorget, Cedric; Pinet, Patrick; Pla-García, Jorge; Plante, Ianik; Poitrasson, Franck; Polkko, Jouni; Popa, Radu; Posiolova, Liliya; Pradler, Irina; Prats, Benito; Prokhorov, Vasily; Purdy, Sharon Wilson; Raaen, Eric; Radziemski, Leon; Rafkin, Scot; Ramos, Miguel; Raulin, François; Ravine, Michael; Reitz, Günther; Rennó, Nilton; Rice, Melissa; Richardson, Mark; Robert, François; Rodriguez Manfredi, José Antonio; Romeral-Planelló, Julio J.; Rowland, Scott; Saccoccio, Muriel; Salamon, Andrew; Sandoval, Jennifer; Sanin, Anton; Sans Fuentes, Sara Alejandra; Saper, Lee; Sautter, Violaine; Savijärvi, Hannu; Schieber, Juergen; Schmidt, Walter; Scholes, Daniel; Schoppers, Marcel; Schröder, Susanne; Sebastian Martinez, Eduardo; Sengstacken, Aaron; Shterts, Ruslan; Siebach, Kirsten; Siili, Tero; Simmonds, Jeff; Sirven, Jean-Baptiste; Slavney, Susie; Sletten, Ronald; Smith, Michael; Sobrón Sánchez, Pablo; Spanovich, Nicole; Spray, John; Squyres, Steven; Stack, Katie; Stalport, Fabien; Stein, Thomas; Stern, Jennifer; Stewart, Noel; Stipp, Susan Louise Svane; Stoiber, Kevin; Sucharski, Bob; Summons, Roger; Sun, Vivian; Supulver, Kimberley; Sutter, Brad; Szopa, Cyril; Tate, Christopher; Teinturier, Samuel; ten Kate, Inge Loes; Thomas, Peter; Thompson, Lucy; Tokar, Robert; Toplis, Mike; Torres Redondo, Josefina; Trainer, Melissa; Tretyakov, Vladislav; Urqui-O'Callaghan, Roser; Van Beek, Jason; Van Beek, Tessa; VanBommel, Scott; Varenikov, Alexey; Vasavada, Ashwin; Vasconcelos, Paulo; Vicenzi, Edward; Vostrukhin, Andrey; Voytek, Mary; Wadhwa, Meenakshi; Ward, Jennifer; Webster, Chris; Weigle, Eddie; Wellington, Danika; Westall, Frances; Wiens, Roger Craig; Wilhelm, Mary Beth; Williams, Amy; Williams, Joshua; Williams, Rebecca; Williams, Richard B.; Wilson, Mike; Wimmer-Schweingruber, Robert; Wolff, Mike; Wong, Mike; Wray, James; Wu, Megan; Yana, Charles; Zeitlin, Cary; Zimdar, Robert; Zorzano Mier, María-Paz

    2013-09-01

    The Rocknest aeolian deposit is similar to aeolian features analyzed by the Mars Exploration Rovers (MERs) Spirit and Opportunity. The fraction of sand Mars instrument and of the fine-grained nanophase oxide component first described from basaltic soils analyzed by MERs. The similarity between soils and aeolian materials analyzed at Gusev Crater, Meridiani Planum, and Gale Crater implies locally sourced, globally similar basaltic materials or globally and regionally sourced basaltic components deposited locally at all three locations.

  10. Mid-Latitude versus Polar-Latitude Transitional Impact Craters: Geometric Properties from Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) Observations and Viking Images

    Science.gov (United States)

    Matias, A.; Garvin, J. B.; Sakimoto, S. E. H.

    1998-01-01

    One intriguing aspect of martian impact crater morphology is the change of crater cavity and ejecta characteristics from the mid-latitudes to the polar regions. This is thought to reflect differences in target properties such as an increasing presence of ice in the polar regions. Previous image-based efforts concerning martian crater morphology has documented some aspects of this, but has been hampered by the lack of adequate topography data. Recent Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) topographic profiles provide a quantitative perspective for interpreting the detailed morphologies of martian crater cavities and ejecta morphology. This study is a preliminary effort to quantify the latitude-dependent differences in morphology with the goal of identifying target-dependent and crater modification effects from the combined of images and MOLA topography. We combine the available MOLA profiles and the corresponding Viking Mars Digital Image Mosaics (MDIMS), and high resolution Viking Orbiter images to focus on two transitional craters; one on the mid-latitudes, and one in the North Polar region. One MOLA pass (MGS Orbit 34) traverses the center of a 15.9 km diameter fresh complex crater located at 12.8degN 83.8degE on the Hesperian ridge plains unit (Hvr). Viking images, as well as MOLA data, show that this crater has well developed wall terraces and a central peak with 429 m of relative relief. Three MOLA passes have been acquired for a second impact crater, which is located at 69.5degN 41degE on the Vastitas Borealis Formation. This fresh rampart crater lacks terraces and central peak structures and it has a depth af 579 m. Correlation between images and MOLA topographic profiles allows us to construct basic facies maps of the craters. Eight main units were identified, four of which are common on both craters.

  11. Detection of Crater Rims by Image Analysis in Very High Resolution Images of Mars, Mercury and the Moon

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pina, P.; Marques, J. S.; Bandeira, L.

    2013-12-01

    The adaptive nature of automated crater detection algorithms permits achieving a high level of autonomous detections in different surfaces and consequently becoming an important tool in the update of crater catalogues. Nevertheless, the available approaches assume all craters as circular and only provide as output the radius and location of each crater. However, the delineation of impact craters following the local variability of the rims is also important to, among others, evaluate their degree of degradation or preservation, namely those studies related to ancient climate analysis. This contour determination is normally prepared in a manual way but can advantageously be done by image analysis methods, eliminating subjectivity and allowing large scale delineations. We have recently proposed a pair of independent approaches to tackle with this problem, one based on processing the crater image in polar coordinates [1], the other using morphological operators [2], which achieved a good degree of success on very high resolution images from Mars [3-4], but where enough room for improvement was still available. Thus, the integration of both approaches into a single one, suppressing the individual drawbacks of the previous approaches, permitted to strength the detection procedure. We describe now the novel sequence of processing that we have built and test it intensively in a wider variety of planetary surfaces, namely, those of Mars, Mercury and the Moon, using the very high resolution images provided by HiRISE, MDIS and LROC cameras. The automated delineations of the craters are compared to a ground-truth reference (manually delineated contours), so a quantitative evaluation can be performed; on a dataset constituted by more than one thousand impact craters we have obtained a global high delineation rate. The breakdown by crater size on each surface is performed. The whole processing procedure works on raster images and also delivers the output in the same image format

  12. Orbital and Rover-based Exploration of Perseverance Valley, Endeavour Crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Morgan, A. M.; Arvidson, R. E.; Duran Vinent, O.; Craddock, R. A.; Holo, S.; Gadal, C.; Blois, G.; Palucis, M. C.; Goudge, T. A.; Morgan, A. M.; Day, M.; Sullivan, R. J., Jr.; Umurhan, O. M.; Pähtz, T.; Birch, S.; Morgan, A. M.; Goudge, T. A.; Palucis, M. C.; Arvidson, R. E.; Duran Vinent, O.; Craddock, R. A.; Holo, S.; Blois, G.; Gadal, C.; Morgan, A. M.; Sullivan, R. J., Jr.; Day, M.; Arvidson, R. E.

    2017-12-01

    Perseverance Valley, based on orbital observations from the Mars Reconnaisance Orbiter HiRISE image data, is a 180 m long, 20 m wide anastomosing shallow channel system superimposed on the Cape Byron rim segment of the 22 km diameter Noachian-age Endeavour Crater on Mars. Several impact craters are superimposed on the valley system, indicating antiquity, although the valley's high degree of preservation indicates that it formed after significant regional-scale fluvial erosion and diffusive smoothing of Endeavour and its rim segments. The valley cuts into the inner, eastern rim on a 10˚ to 15˚ slope, and starts at a local low area on the rim crest. A set of shallow channels, some lined with perimeter rocks, extends from the west to meet the entrance to the valley. The western rim tilts to the west 0.8˚ and thus the channels tilt away from the valley entrance. The Mars Rover Opportunity has explored the western shallow channels leading up to the entrance to the valley. As of this writing Opportunity is located on the southern side of the valley entrance, with the Athena Science Team waiting until after solar conjunction to command the rover to descend into the valley to search for geomorphic and sedimentologic evidence related to valley formation. Wind erosion along radial fractures extending into and down Cape Byron is a possibility. Debris flows are also under consideration, perhaps enabled by melting ice at the rim crest. Dry avalanches are unlikely due to the low slopes. A fluvial origin is a strong contender based on models that show it is possible to have had a western catchment present when the Burns formation hydrated sulfates were being emplaced, followed by self-compaction of these sediments that tilted the western plains away from the rim crest. The key to testing among the various hypotheses for formation of the valley and shallow channels leading into the entrance will be the detailed stereo and multispectral imaging observations Opportunity will make

  13. Basalt-trachybasalt samples in Gale Crater, Mars

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Edwards, Peter H.; Anderson, Ryan B.; Dyar, Darby

    2017-01-01

    The ChemCam instrument on the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) rover, Curiosity, observed numerous igneous float rocks and conglomerate clasts, reported previously. A new statistical analysis of single-laser-shot spectra of igneous targets observed by ChemCam shows a strong peak at ~55 wt% SiO 2 and 6 wt% total alkalis, with a minor secondary maximum at 47–51 wt% SiO 2 and lower alkali content. The centers of these distributions, together with the rock textures, indicate that many of the ChemCam igneous targets are trachybasalts, Mg# = 27 but with a secondary concentration of basaltic material, with a focus of compositions around Mg# = 54. We suggest that all of these igneous rocks resulted from low-pressure, olivine-dominated fractionation of Adirondack (MER) class-type basalt compositions. This magmatism has subalkaline, tholeiitic affinities. The similarity of the basalt endmember to much of the Gale sediment compositions in the first 1000 sols of the MSL mission suggests that this type of Fe-rich, relatively low-Mg#, olivine tholeiite is the dominant constituent of the Gale catchment that is the source material for the fine-grained sediments in Gale. The similarity to many Gusev igneous compositions suggests that it is a major constituent of ancient Martian magmas, and distinct from the shergottite parental melts thought to be associated with Tharsis and the Northern Lowlands. Finally, the Gale Crater catchment sampled a mixture of this tholeiitic basalt along with alkaline igneous material, together giving some analogies to terrestrial intraplate magmatic provinces.

  14. Climate Implications of an Ancient Lake Basin in Gale Crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vasavada, A. R.; Arvidson, R. E.; Edgett, K. S.; Fairén, A. G.; Fedo, C.; Grotzinger, J. P.; Gupta, S.; House, C. H.; Lewis, K. W.; Rivera-Hernandez, F.; Wiens, R. C.

    2017-12-01

    The sedimentary rock record explored in Aeolis Palus and in the lower slopes of Aeolis Mons using the Curiosity rover is interpreted to be that of streams and lakes that persisted for millions of years. Fluvio-deltaic rocks of the Bradbury group, upon which Curiosity landed, are interpreted to interfinger with the Murray formation rocks of lower Aeolis Mons (Mount Sharp). The more than 200 vertical meters of Murray formation section investigated using Curiosity primarily comprise laminated mudstones, with interstratified cross-stratified facies prevalent higher in the succession. These rocks are interpreted as lacustrine with minor fluvial and aeolian intervals. Comparison with depositional rates in terrestrial lake basins suggests that lakes were present within Gale crater for millions of years. Facies diagnostic of seasonal or perennial ice cover, or of ice within the sediment, have not been found, but ice cannot be ruled out. Calculated chemical index of alteration (CIA) values suggest cold and arid conditions in rocks studied on the plains but warmer and more humid conditions in the rocks of lower Aeolis Mons. Evidence of early and late diagenesis, e.g., concretions, calcium sulfate veins, and fracture-adjacent alteration haloes, implies that multiple generations of groundwater (i.e., liquid) interacted with the sediments post-deposition. Crater counts indicate that Gale crater formed at about 3.8-3.6 Ga near the Noachian-Hesperian boundary and that deposition, burial, lithification, and exhumation of the lower section of central mound occurred by 3.3-3.1 Ga. Together, these observations constrain the climate of early Hesperian equatorial Mars to states that permitted liquid water to be thermodynamically stable at the surface and in the subsurface at Gale crater, and that were sufficiently humid to reduce evaporative losses and to drive fluvial erosion, transport, and re-charging of the lakes with a hydrological cycle. Isotopic measurements of atmospheric gases

  15. Oxychlorine species in Gale Crater and broader implications for Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Archer, Paul Douglas; Hogancamp, Joanna C.; Ming, Douglas W.; Sutter, Brad; Morris, Richard V.; Clark, Benton; Mahaffy, Paul R.; Achilles, Cherie; Wray, James J.; Gellert, Ralf; Yen, Albert; Blake, David F.; Vaniman, David T.; Glavin, Daniel P.; Eigenbrode, Jennifer L.; Trainer, Melissa G.; Navarro-González, Rafael; McKay, Christopher P.; Freissinet, Caroline; Martin, Peter

    2017-10-01

    Of 15 samples analyzed to date, the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument on the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) has detected oxychlorine compounds (perchlorate or chlorate) in 12 samples. The presence of oxychlorine species is inferred from the release of oxygen at temperatures JK) and Cumberland (CB) samples were acquired within a few meters of each other and CB contained ~1.2 wt% Cl2O7 equivalent while JK had ~0.1 wt%. One difference between the two samples is that JK has a large number of veins visible in the drill hole wall, indicating more post-deposition alteration and removal.Finally, despite Cl concentrations similar to previous samples, the last three Murray formation samples (Oudam, Marimba, and Quela) had no detectable oxygen released during pyrolysis. This could be a result of oxygen reacting with other species in the sample during pyrolysis. Lab work has shown this is likely to have occurred in SAM but it is unlikely to have consumed all the O2 released. Another explanation is that the Cl is present as chlorides, which is consistent with data from the ChemCam (Chemical Camera) and CheMin (Chemistry and Mineralogy) instruments on MSL. For example, the Quela sample has ~1 wt% elemental Cl detected by APXS, had no detectable O2 released, and halite (NaCl) has been tentatively identified in CheMin X-ray diffraction data.These data show that oxychlorines are likely globally distributed on Mars but the distribution is heterogenous depending on the perchlorate formation mechanism (production rate), burial, and subsequent diagenesis.

  16. Jezero Crater, Mars, as a Compelling Site for Future In Situ Exploration

    Science.gov (United States)

    Goudge, T. A.; Ehlmann, B. L.; Fassett, C. I.; Head, J. W.; Mustard, J. F.; Mangold, N.; Gupta, S.; Milliken, R. E.; Brown, A. J.

    2017-01-01

    Jezero is a approximately 45 km diameter impact crater located in the Nili Fossae region of Mars. Jezero is an outstanding site to address key questions of ancient Mars climate, habitability, and volcanic history because: (a) It hosted an open-basin lake during the era of valley network formation [1,2], which ceased at approximately the Noachian-Hesperian boundary [3]. (b) It contains two delta deposits [1,4] with Fe/Mg-smectite and Mg-carbonate sediment [4-7] (the only exposure of lacus-trine shoreline carbonates seen so far on Mars). (c) The depositional environment and mineral assemblage of the delta are promising for the concentration and preservation of organic matter [5,8]. (d) The diverse geologic units in Jezero are in clear stratigraphic context [7]. The Jezero paleolake system has been thoroughly investigated at a variety of scales, including work on: the mineralogy of the delta deposits [4-6] and watershed [7], as well as the morphology and sedimentology of the basin [9] and delta deposits [1,4]. The geologic context of Jezero is also well-studied given the broad suite of alteration minerals exposed in the ancient stratigraphies of the Nili Fossae region [e.g., 6,10-13]. Here we present an overview of the units accessible for exploration in the Jezero basin, including questions and hypotheses that can be tested through analysis in situ and of returned samples. This is particularly timely given the upcoming Mars 2020 mission, for which Jezero is one of the final eight landing sites [14]. Primary science objectives for Mars 2020 are to: (1) characterize the geologic history of a site with "evidence of an astrobiologically-relevant ancient environment and geologic diversity"; (2) assess the habitability and "potential evidence of past life" in units with "high biosignature preservation potential"; and (3) cache scientifically compelling samples for potential return to Earth [15].

  17. The Carancas meteorite impact crater, Peru: Geologic surveying and modeling of crater formation and atmospheric passage

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kenkmann, T.; Artemieva, N. A.; Wünnemann, K.; Poelchau, M. H.; Elbeshausen, D.; Núñez Del Prado, H.

    2009-08-01

    The recent Carancas meteorite impact event caused a worldwide sensation. An H4-5 chondrite struck the Earth south of Lake Titicaca in Peru on September 15, 2007, and formed a crater 14.2 m across. It is the smallest, youngest, and one of two eye-witnessed impact crater events on Earth. The impact violated the hitherto existing view that stony meteorites below a size of 100 m undergo major disruption and deceleration during their passage through the atmosphere and are not capable of producing craters. Fragmentation occurs if the strength of the meteoroid is less than the aerodynamic stresses that occur in flight. The small fragments that result from a breakup rain down at terminal velocity and are not capable of producing impact craters. The Carancas cratering event, however, demonstrates that meter-sized stony meteoroids indeed can survive the atmospheric passage under specific circumstances. We present results of a detailed geologic survey of the crater and its ejecta. To constrain the possible range of impact parameters we carried out numerical models of crater formation with the iSALE hydrocode in two and three dimensions. Depending on the strength properties of the target, the impact energies range between approximately 100-1000 MJ (0.024- 0.24 t TNT). By modeling the atmospheric traverse we demonstrate that low cosmic velocities (12- 14 kms-1) and shallow entry angles (<20°) are prerequisites to keep aerodynamic stresses low (<10 MPa) and thus to prevent fragmentation of stony meteoroids with standard strength properties. This scenario results in a strong meteoroid deceleration, a deflection of the trajectory to a steeper impact angle (40-60°), and an impact velocity of 350-600 ms-1, which is insufficient to produce a shock wave and significant shock effects in target minerals. Aerodynamic and crater modeling are consistent with field data and our microscopic inspection. However, these data are in conflict with trajectories inferred from the analysis of

  18. Possible Juventae Chasma subice volcanic eruptions and Maja Valles ice outburst floods on Mars: Implications of Mars Global surveyor crater densities, geomorphology, and topography

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chapman, M.G.; Gudmundsson, M.T.; Russell, A.J.; Hare, T.M.

    2003-01-01

    This article discusses image, topographic, and spectral data from the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) mission that provide new information concerning the surface age, geomorphology, and topography of the Juventae Chasma/Maja Valles system. Our study utilizes data from two instruments on board MGS: images from the Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) and topography from the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA). Within Maja Valles we can now observe depositional bars with megaripples that unequivocally show catastrophic floods occurred in the channel. Viking impact crater densities indicated the chasma and channel floor areas were all one age (late Hesperian to Amazonian); however, MOC data indicate a marked difference in densities of small craters between Juventae Chasma, Maja Valles, and the channel debouchment area in Chryse Planitia basin. Although other processes may contribute to crater variability, young resurfacing events in the chasma and episodes of recent erosion at Maja Valles channel head may possibly account for the disparate crater densities along the chasma/channel system. Relatively young volcanic eruptions may have contributed to resurfacing; as in Juventae Chasma, a small possible volcanic cone of young dark material is observed. MOC data also indicate previously unknown interior layered deposit mounds in the chasma that indicate at least two periods of mound formation. Finally, MOLA topography shows that the entire floor of the chasma lies at the same elevation as the channel debouchment area in Chryse basin, resulting in a 3-km-high barrier to water flow out of the chasma. Blocked ponded water would rapidly freeze in the current (and likely past) climate of Mars. For catastrophic flow to occur in Maja Valles, some process is required to melt ice and induce floods out of the chasma. We suggest subice volcanic eruption and calculate estimates of water discharges and volumes that these eruptions might have produced.

  19. From lakes to sand seas: a record of early Mars climate change explored in northern Gale crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gupta, S.; Banham, S.; Rubin, D. M.; Watkins, J. A.; Edgett, K. S.; Sumner, D. Y.; Grotzinger, J. P.; Lewis, K. W.; Edgar, L. A.; Stack, K.; Day, M.; Lapôtre, M. G. A.; Bell, J. F., III; Ewing, R. C.; Stein, N.; Rivera-Hernandez, F.; Vasavada, A. R.

    2017-12-01

    While traversing the northern flank of Aeolis Mons, Gale crater, Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity encountered a decametre-thick sandstone unit unconformably overlying the lacustrine Murray formation. This sandstone contains cross-bed sets on the order of 1 m thick, composed of uniform mm-thick laminations of uniform thickness, and lacks silt- or mud-grade sediments. Cross sets are separated by sub-horizontal bounding surfaces which extend for tens of metres across outcrops. Dip-azimuths of cross-laminations are predominantly toward the north-east, which is oblique to the north-west slope of the unconformity on which the sandstone accumulated. This sandstone was designated the Stimson formation after Mt. Stimson, where it was delineated from the Murray formation. Textural analysis of this sandstone revealed a bi-modal sorting with well-rounded grains, typical of particles transported by aeolian processes. Stacked cross-bedded sets, representing the migration of aeolian dune-scale bedforms, combined with the absence of finer-grained facies characteristic of interdune deposits, suggest that the Stimson accumulated by aerodynamic processes and that the depositional surface was devoid of moisture which could have attracted dust to form interdune deposits. Reconstruction of this "dry" dune-field based on architectural measurements suggest that cross sets were emplaced by the migration of dunes with minimum heights of 10m, that were spaced 160 m apart. The dune field covered an area of 30-45 km2, and was confined to the break-in-slope at the base of Aeolis Mons. Cross-set dips suggest that the palaeowind drove these dunes toward the north east, oblique to the slope of the unconformity on which these sandstones accumulated. Construction of a dry dune field in Gale crater required an environment of extreme aridity with absence of water at the surface and within the shallow sub-surface. This is in stark contrast to the lacustrine environment in which the underlying

  20. Deposition, exhumation, and paleoclimate of an ancient lake deposit, Gale crater, Mars.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grotzinger, J P; Gupta, S; Malin, M C; Rubin, D M; Schieber, J; Siebach, K; Sumner, D Y; Stack, K M; Vasavada, A R; Arvidson, R E; Calef, F; Edgar, L; Fischer, W F; Grant, J A; Griffes, J; Kah, L C; Lamb, M P; Lewis, K W; Mangold, N; Minitti, M E; Palucis, M; Rice, M; Williams, R M E; Yingst, R A; Blake, D; Blaney, D; Conrad, P; Crisp, J; Dietrich, W E; Dromart, G; Edgett, K S; Ewing, R C; Gellert, R; Hurowitz, J A; Kocurek, G; Mahaffy, P; McBride, M J; McLennan, S M; Mischna, M; Ming, D; Milliken, R; Newsom, H; Oehler, D; Parker, T J; Vaniman, D; Wiens, R C; Wilson, S A

    2015-10-09

    The landforms of northern Gale crater on Mars expose thick sequences of sedimentary rocks. Based on images obtained by the Curiosity rover, we interpret these outcrops as evidence for past fluvial, deltaic, and lacustrine environments. Degradation of the crater wall and rim probably supplied these sediments, which advanced inward from the wall, infilling both the crater and an internal lake basin to a thickness of at least 75 meters. This intracrater lake system probably existed intermittently for thousands to millions of years, implying a relatively wet climate that supplied moisture to the crater rim and transported sediment via streams into the lake basin. The deposits in Gale crater were then exhumed, probably by wind-driven erosion, creating Aeolis Mons (Mount Sharp). Copyright © 2015, American Association for the Advancement of Science.

  1. Deposition, exhumation, and paleoclimate of an ancient lake deposit, Gale crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grotzinger, J. P.; Gupta, S.; Malin, M. C.; Rubin, D. M.; Schieber, J.; Siebach, K.; Sumner, D. Y.; Stack, K. M.; Vasavada, A. R.; Arvidson, R. E.; Calef, F.; Edgar, L.; Fischer, W. F.; Grant, J. A.; Griffes, J.; Kah, L. C.; Lamb, M. P.; Lewis, K. W.; Mangold, N.; Minitti, M. E.; Palucis, M.; Rice, M.; Williams, R. M. E.; Yingst, R. A.; Blake, D.; Blaney, D.; Conrad, P.; Crisp, J.; Dietrich, W. E.; Dromart, G.; Edgett, K. S.; Ewing, R. C.; Gellert, R.; Hurowitz, J. A.; Kocurek, G.; Mahaffy, P.; McBride, M. J.; McLennan, S. M.; Mischna, M.; Ming, D.; Milliken, R.; Newsom, H.; Oehler, D.; Parker, T. J.; Vaniman, D.; Wiens, R. C.; Wilson, S. A.

    2015-10-01

    The landforms of northern Gale crater on Mars expose thick sequences of sedimentary rocks. Based on images obtained by the Curiosity rover, we interpret these outcrops as evidence for past fluvial, deltaic, and lacustrine environments. Degradation of the crater wall and rim probably supplied these sediments, which advanced inward from the wall, infilling both the crater and an internal lake basin to a thickness of at least 75 meters. This intracrater lake system probably existed intermittently for thousands to millions of years, implying a relatively wet climate that supplied moisture to the crater rim and transported sediment via streams into the lake basin. The deposits in Gale crater were then exhumed, probably by wind-driven erosion, creating Aeolis Mons (Mount Sharp).

  2. Deposition, exhumation, and paleoclimate of an ancient lake deposit, Gale crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grotzinger, J.P.; Gupta, S.; Malin, M.C.; Rubin, D.M.; Schieber, J.; Siebach, K.; Sumner, D.Y.; Stack, K.M.; Vasavada, A.R.; Arvidson, R.E.; Calef, F.; Edgar, Lauren; Fischer, W.F.; Grant, J.A.; Griffes, J.L.; Kah, L.C.; Lamb, M.P.; Lewis, K.W.; Mangold, N.; Minitti, M.E.; Palucis, M.C.; Rice, M.; Williams, R.M.E.; Yingst, R.A.; Blake, D.; Blaney, D.; Conrad, P.; Crisp, J.A.; Dietrich, W.E.; Dromart, G.; Edgett, K.S.; Ewing, R.C.; Gellert, R.; Hurowitz, J.A.; Kocurek, G.; Mahaffy, P.G.; McBride, M.J.; McLennan, S.M.; Mischna, M.A.; Ming, D.; Milliken, R.E.; Newsom, H.; Oehler, D.; Parker, T.J.; Vaniman, D.; Wiens, R.C.; Wilson, S.A.

    2015-01-01

    The landforms of northern Gale crater on Mars expose thick sequences of sedimentary rocks. Based on images obtained by the Curiosity rover, we interpret these outcrops as evidence for past fluvial, deltaic, and lacustrine environments. Degradation of the crater wall and rim probably supplied these sediments, which advanced inward from the wall, infilling both the crater and an internal lake basin to a thickness of at least 75 meters. This intracrater lake system probably existed intermittently for thousands to millions of years, implying a relatively wet climate that supplied moisture to the crater rim and transported sediment via streams into the lake basin. The deposits in Gale crater were then exhumed, probably by wind-driven erosion, creating Aeolis Mons (Mount Sharp).

  3. Grain Size Measurements of Eolian Ripples in Gale Crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Weitz, C. M.; Sullivan, R. J., Jr.; Lapotre, M. G. A.; Rowland, S. K.; Edgett, K. S.; Grant, J. A., III; Yingst, R. A.

    2017-12-01

    The Curiosity rover team has explored several different eolian sand targets in Gale crater, including dunes and ripples. Using Curiosity's Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI), we measured the size of grains on or near ripple crests within dunes, ripple fields, and in isolated ripples. The Barby target (Sol 1184) is on the crest of a ripple on the lower stoss slope of the barchan High dune. Flume Ridge (Sol 1604) and Avery Peak (Sol 1651) are smaller ripples on the Nathan Bridges and Mount Desert Island linear dunes. Schoolhouse Ledge (Sol 1688) is an isolated megaripple not associated with either a dune or ripple field. Enchanted Island (Sol 1751) is a ripple contained within a larger ripple field near the Vera Rubin Ridge. Our results show the grains of the Avery Peak and Flume Ridge targets are mostly 75-150 µm in size and grain motion was observed during each MAHLI imaging sequence. Barby is dominated by 250-450 µm grains assumed to be active based upon the lack of a dust coating, though grain motion was not observed. The Enchanted Island target has slightly larger grains than Barby, with most between 300-500 µm. The grains have some dust aggregates on their surfaces, suggesting they have been less active in recent months or years relative to the ripples examined within the Bagnold dune field. Finally, grains along the crest of Schoolhouse Ledge are the largest, 400-600 µm, and all of the grain surfaces have a thin dust coating, indicating the ripple is not currently active. Some of the ripple crests have similar grain sizes on both the stoss and lee sides (Schoolhouse Ledge, Barby) whereas other ripples showed larger grains concentrated on the stoss side (Enchanted Island, Avery Peak, Flume Ridge). Scuffing by the rover's front wheel revealed both Schoolhouse Ledge and Enchanted Island had coarser grains dominating the ripple surface with finer grains within the ripple interior. In general, the surfaces of active sand ripples have smaller grains compared to the

  4. Stratigraphic architecture of bedrock reference section, Victoria Crater, Meridiani Planum, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Edgar, Lauren A.; Grotzinger, John P.; Hayes, Alex G.; Rubin, David M.; Squyres, Steve W.; Bell, James F.; Herkenhoff, Ken E.

    2012-01-01

    The Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity has investigated bedrock outcrops exposed in several craters at Meridiani Planum, Mars, in an effort to better understand the role of surface processes in its geologic history. Opportunity has recently completed its observations of Victoria crater, which is 750 m in diameter and exposes cliffs up to ~15 m high. The plains surrounding Victoria crater are ~10 m higher in elevation than those surrounding the previously explored Endurance crater, indicating that the Victoria crater exposes a stratigraphically higher section than does the Endurance crater; however, Victoria strata overlap in elevation with the rocks exposed at the Erebus crater. Victoria crater has a well-developed geomorphic pattern of promontories and embayments that define the crater wall and that reveal thick bedsets (3–7m) of large-scale cross-bedding, interpreted as fossil eolian dunes. Opportunity was able to drive into the crater at Duck Bay, located on the western margin of Victoria crater. Data from the Microscopic Imager and Panoramic Camera reveal details about the structures, textures, and depositional and diagenetic events that influenced the Victoria bedrock. A lithostratigraphic subdivision of bedrock units was enabled by the presence of a light-toned band that lines much of the upper rim of the crater. In ascending order, three stratigraphic units are named Lyell, Smith, and Steno; Smith is the light-toned band. In the Reference Section exposed along the ingress path at Duck Bay, Smith is interpreted to represent a zone of diagenetic recrystallization; however, its upper contact also coincides with a primary erosional surface. Elsewhere in the crater the diagenetic band crosscuts the physical stratigraphy. Correlation with strata present at nearby promontory Cape Verde indicates that there is an erosional surface at the base of the cliff face that corresponds to the erosional contact below Steno. The erosional contact at the base of Cape Verde

  5. Stratigraphy and paleohydrology of delta channel deposits, Jezero crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Goudge, Timothy A.; Mohrig, David; Cardenas, Benjamin T.; Hughes, Cory M.; Fassett, Caleb I.

    2018-02-01

    The Jezero crater open-basin lake contains two well-exposed fluvial sedimentary deposits formed early in martian history. Here, we examine the geometry and architecture of the Jezero western delta fluvial stratigraphy using high-resolution orbital images and digital elevation models (DEMs). The goal of this analysis is to reconstruct the evolution of the delta and associated shoreline position. The delta outcrop contains three distinct classes of fluvial stratigraphy that we interpret, from oldest to youngest, as: (1) point bar strata deposited by repeated flood events in meandering channels; (2) inverted channel-filling deposits formed by avulsive distributary channels; and (3) a valley that incises the deposit. We use DEMs to quantify the geometry of the channel deposits and estimate flow depths of ∼7 m for the meandering channels and ∼2 m for the avulsive distributary channels. Using these estimates, we employ a novel approach for assessing paleohydrology of the formative channels in relative terms. This analysis indicates that the shift from meandering to avulsive distributary channels was associated with an approximately four-fold decrease in the water to sediment discharge ratio. We use observations of the fluvial stratigraphy and channel paleohydrology to propose a model for the evolution of the Jezero western delta. The delta stratigraphy records lake level rise and shoreline transgression associated with approximately continuous filling of the basin, followed by outlet breaching, and eventual erosion of the delta. Our results imply a martian surface environment during the period of delta formation that supplied sufficient surface runoff to fill the Jezero basin without major drops in lake level, but also with discrete flooding events at non-orbital (e.g., annual to decadal) timescales.

  6. Turbulent flow over craters on Mars: Vorticity dynamics reveal aeolian excavation mechanism

    Science.gov (United States)

    Anderson, William; Day, Mackenzie

    2017-10-01

    Impact craters are scattered across Mars. These craters exhibit geometric self-similarity over a spectrum of diameters, ranging from tens to thousands of kilometers. The late Noachian-early Hesperian boundary marks a dramatic shift in the role of mid-latitude craters, from depocenter sedimentary basins to aeolian source areas. At present day, many craters contain prominent layered sedimentary mounds with maximum elevations comparable to the rim height. The mounds are remnants of Noachian deposition and are surrounded by a radial moat. Large-eddy simulation has been used to model turbulent flows over synthetic craterlike geometries. Geometric attributes of the craters and the aloft flow have been carefully matched to resemble ambient conditions in the atmospheric boundary layer of Mars. Vorticity dynamics analysis within the crater basin reveals the presence of counterrotating helical vortices, verifying the efficacy of deflationary models put forth recently by Bennett and Bell [K. Bennett and J. Bell, Icarus 264, 331 (2016)], 10.1016/j.icarus.2015.09.041 and Day et al. [M. Day et al., Geophys. Res. Lett. 43, 2473 (2016)], 10.1002/2016GL068011. We show how these helical counterrotating vortices spiral around the outer rim, gradually deflating the moat and carving the mound; excavation occurs faster on the upwind side, explaining the radial eccentricity of the mounds relative to the surrounding crater basin.

  7. Fractal dimensions of rampart impact craters on Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ching, Delwyn; Taylor, G. Jeffrey; Mouginis-Mark, Peter; Bruno, Barbara C.

    1993-01-01

    Ejecta blanket morphologies of Martian rampart craters may yield important clues to the atmospheric densities during impact, and the nature of target materials (e.g., hard rock, fine-grained sediments, presence of volatiles). In general, the morphologies of such craters suggest emplacement by a fluidized, ground hugging flow instead of ballistic emplacement by dry ejecta. We have quantitatively characterized the shape of the margins of the ejecta blankets of 15 rampart craters using fractal geometry. Our preliminary results suggest that the craters are fractals and are self-similar over scales of approximately 0.1 km to 30 km. Fractal dimensions (a measure of the extent to which a line fills a plane) range from 1.06 to 1.31. No correlations of fractal dimension with target type, elevation, or crater size were observed, though the data base is small. The range in fractal dimension and lack of correlation may be due to a complex interplay of target properties (grain size, volatile content), atmospheric pressure, and crater size. The mere fact that the ejecta margins are fractals, however, indicates that viscosity and yield strength of the ejecta were at least as low as those of basalts, because silicic lava flows are not generally fractals.

  8. Multiple stages of aqueous alteration along fractures in mudstone and sandstone strata in Gale Crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yen, A. S.; Ming, D. W.; Vaniman, D. T.; Gellert, R.; Blake, D. F.; Morris, R. V.; Morrison, S. M.; Bristow, T. F.; Chipera, S. J.; Edgett, K. S.; Treiman, A. H.; Clark, B. C.; Downs, R. T.; Farmer, J. D.; Grotzinger, J. P.; Rampe, E. B.; Schmidt, M. E.; Sutter, B.; Thompson, L. M.; MSL Science Team

    2017-08-01

    The Mars rover Curiosity in Gale crater conducted the first-ever direct chemical and mineralogical comparisons of samples that have clear parent (unaltered) and daughter (altered) relationships. The mineralogy and chemistry of samples within and adjacent to alteration halos in a sandstone formation were established by the Chemistry and Mineralogy (CheMin) X-ray diffraction (XRD) instrument and the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS), respectively. The Stimson formation sandstones unconformably overlie the Murray mudstone formation and represent the youngest stratigraphic unit explored by Curiosity to date. Aqueous alteration of the parent sandstone resulted in a loss of half of the original crystalline mineral phases and a three-fold increase in X-ray amorphous material. Aqueous fluids extensively leached Mg, Al, Mn, Fe, Ni, Zn and other elements from the parent material, decreased the pyroxene to feldspar ratio by a factor of two, introduced Ca and mixed-cation sulfates, and both passively and actively enriched the silica content. Leaching of Mg, Al, Mn, Fe, Ni and Zn and enrichment of Si and S are also observed in alteration halos in the underlying mudstone. These observations are consistent with infiltration of subsurface fluids, initially acidic and then alkaline, propagating along fractures crosscutting the Stimson sandstone and Murray mudstone. The geochemistry and mineralogy suggest a complicated diagenetic history with multiple stages of aqueous alteration under a variety of environmental conditions (e.g. both low and moderate pH). The formation of these alteration halos post-dates lithification of the sandstones and mudstones and represents one of the youngest hydrogeologic events presently known to have occurred in Gale crater.

  9. Impact-Induced Clay Mineral Formation and Distribution on Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rivera-Valentin, E. G.; Craig, P. I.

    2015-01-01

    Clay minerals have been identified in the central peaks and ejecta blankets of impact craters on Mars. Several studies have suggested these clay minerals formed as a result of impact induced hydrothermalism either during Mars' Noachian era or more recently by the melting of subsurface ice. Examples of post-impact clay formation is found in several locations on Earth such as the Mjolnir and Woodleigh Impact Structures. Additionally, a recent study has suggested the clay minerals observed on Ceres are the result of impact-induced hydrothermal processes. Such processes may have occurred on Mars, possibly during the Noachian. Distinguishing between clay minerals formed preor post-impact can be accomplished by studying their IR spectra. In fact, showed that the IR spectra of clay minerals is greatly affected at longer wavelengths (i.e. mid-IR, 5-25 micron) by impact-induced shock deformation while the near-IR spectra (1.0-2.5 micron) remains relatively unchanged. This explains the discrepancy between NIR and MIR observations of clay minerals in martian impact craters noted. Thus, it allows us to determine whether a clay mineral formed from impact-induced hydrothermalism or were pre-existing and were altered by the impact. Here we study the role of impacts on the formation and distribution of clay minerals on Mars via a fully 3-D Monte Carlo cratering model, including impact- melt production using results from modern hydrocode simulations. We identify regions that are conducive to clay formation and the location of clay minerals post-bombardment.

  10. Columbus crater and other possible groundwater-fed paleolakes of Terra Sirenum, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wray, J.J.; Milliken, R.E.; Dundas, C.M.; Swayze, G.A.; Andrews-Hanna, J. C.; Baldridge, A.M.; Chojnacki, M.; Bishop, J.L.; Ehlmann, B.L.; Murchie, S.L.; Clark, R.N.; Seelos, F.P.; Tornabene, L.L.; Squyres, S. W.

    2011-01-01

    Columbus crater in the Terra Sirenum region of the Martian southern highlands contains light-toned layered deposits with interbedded sulfate and phyllosilicate minerals, a rare occurrence on Mars. Here we investigate in detail the morphology, thermophysical properties, mineralogy, and stratigraphy of these deposits; explore their regional context; and interpret the crater's aqueous history. Hydrated mineral-bearing deposits occupy a discrete ring around the walls of Columbus crater and are also exposed beneath younger materials, possibly lava flows, on its floor. Widespread minerals identified in the crater include gypsum, polyhydrated and monohydrated Mg/Fe-sulfates, and kaolinite; localized deposits consistent with montmorillonite, Fe/Mg-phyllosilicates, jarosite, alunite, and crystalline ferric oxide or hydroxide are also detected. Thermal emission spectra suggest abundances of these minerals in the tens of percent range. Other craters in northwest Terra Sirenum also contain layered deposits and Al/Fe/Mg-phyllosilicates, but sulfates have so far been found only in Columbus and Cross craters. The region's intercrater plains contain scattered exposures of Al-phyllosilicates and one isolated mound with opaline silica, in addition to more common Fe/Mg-phyllosilicates with chlorides. A Late Noachian age is estimated for the aqueous deposits in Columbus, coinciding with a period of inferred groundwater upwelling and evaporation, which (according to model results reported here) could have formed evaporites in Columbus and other craters in Terra Sirenum. Hypotheses for the origin of these deposits include groundwater cementation of crater-filling sediments and/or direct precipitation from subaerial springs or in a deep (???900 m) paleolake. Especially under the deep lake scenario, which we prefer, chemical gradients in Columbus crater may have created a habitable environment at this location on early Mars. ?? 2011 by the American Geophysical Union.

  11. CO2-SO2 clathrate hydrate formation on early Mars

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Chassefière E.

    2014-02-01

    Full Text Available Most sulfate minerals discovered on Mars are dated no earlier than the Hesperian. We showed, using a 1-D radiative-convective-photochemical model, that clathrate formation during the Noachian would have buffered the atmospheric CO2 pressure of early Mars at ~2 bar and maintained a global average surface temperature ~230 K. Because clathrates trap SO2 more favorably than CO2, all volcanically outgassed sulfur would have been trapped in Noachian Mars cryosphere, preventing a significant formation of sulfate minerals during the Noachian and inhibiting carbonates from forming at the surface in acidic water resulting from the local melting of the SO2- rich cryosphere. The massive formation of sulfate minerals at the surface of Mars during the Hesperian could be the consequence of a drop of the CO2 pressure below a 2-bar threshold value at the late Noachian-Hesperian transition, which would have released sulfur gases into the atmosphere from both the Noachian sulfur-rich cryosphere and still active Tharsis volcanism. Our hypothesis could allow to explain the formation of chaotic terrains and outflow channels, and the occurrence of episodic warm episodes facilitated by the release of SO2 to the atmosphere. These episodes could explain the formation of valley networks and the degradation of impact craters, but remain to be confirmed by further modeling.

  12. A Terrestrial Wind Erosion Analog for Mound and Moat Morphology of Gale Crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chan, M. A.; Netoff, D. I.

    2016-12-01

    A striking feature of Gale crater is the 5.5 km high, layered mound called Mount Sharp- the major exploration target for the Mars Science Laboratory rover, Curiosity. Within the 154 km diameter crater, low plains (e.g. Aeolis Palus) resemble a moat surrounding Mount Sharp. Current studies debate whether sedimentary layers completely filled the crater, as well as how the units were sculpted to their current morphology. Areas of southern Utah are favorable for terrestrial comparisons to Mars due to the exceptional exposure and lack of vegetation in the desert climate. Here, water is key in shaping large geomorphic features, but wind is also an effective sculptor of the landscape. In Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, a distinctive weathering pit with a central mound and moat occurs in bleached eolian facies of the Jurassic Navajo Sandstone. This pit is 60 m wide by 20 m deep and was informally dubbed "inselberg pit", although it has recently gained notoriety under the name of "cosmic navel" or "cosmic ashtray". Inside the pit, loose dune sand shifts periodically and seasonally across the pit floor and up against the walls. Eolian abrasion features of cm to m scales include: grooves, flutes, and erosional-shaped fingers or stalks topped with concretions. Strong regional and local winds are funneled to amplify their velocity and produce a venturi effect that sculpts the pit via wind abrasion, creating an internal mound and moat morphology. Although the Navajo pit is significantly smaller than Gale crater on Mars by several orders of magnitude, both show comparable mound and moat morphologies accompanied by erosional wind features. In Gale crater, evidence for wind erosion includes yardangs, dunes, and wind streaks. The natural Navajo analogy suggests that strong, dynamic, focused winds on Mars could be capable of carving deeply into sedimentary layers over long periods of time to generate Mount Sharp, surrounded by low, eroded plains within Gale crater.

  13. Persistent aeolian activity at Endeavour crater, Meridiani Planum, Mars; new observations from orbit and the surface

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chojnacki, Matthew; Johnson, Jeffrey R.; Moersch, Jeffrey E.; Fenton, Lori K.; Michaels, Timothy I.; Bell, James F., III

    2015-05-01

    Aeolian-driven bedform activity is now known to occur in many regions of Mars, based on surface and orbital observation of contemporary martian ripple and dune mobility events. Many of these sites have only been monitored with sufficient resolution data for the last few Mars years, when the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) began acquiring images of Mars. One exception is the well-monitored Endeavour crater in Meridiani Planum, which was one of the first known sites of unambiguous dune activity (migration and deflation). However, those early detections used lower resolution images over longer temporal baselines (versus the HIRISE data now available), leaving some measurements poorly constrained. New orbital and surface observations of Endeavour show multiple spatial (cm, m, km) and temporal (seasons, Mars year) scales of aeolian-driven surface change, which confirms earlier reports. Dome dunes in the eastern portion of the crater persistently deflate, disseminating dark sand across lighter-toned regolith and/or eroded bright dust, and likely contribute to the crater interior's episodic decreases in orbital albedo measurements. Other dome dunes are detected with the highest migration rates (4-12 m per Mars year) and volumetric sand fluxes reported yet for Mars. Estimated dune construction times or "turnover times" here and elsewhere on Mars are significantly shorter than martian obliquity cycles, implying that it is not necessary to invoke paleoclimate wind regimes to explain current dune morphologies. Located on the crater rim, the Opportunity rover detected evidence for near- and far-field aeolian-driven activity, with observations of spherules/sand movement in the rover workspace, bedform albedo alteration, and dust-lifting events. Observations of intracrater dunes show periodic shifting dark streaks that significantly constrain local wind regimes (directionality and seasonality). Constraints on wind directions from surface and orbital images

  14. Mineral Trends in Early Hesperian Lacustrine Mudstone at Gale Crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rampe, E. B.; Ming, D. W.; Grotzinger, J. P.; Morris, R. V.; Blake, D. F.; Vaniman, D. T.; Bristow, T. F.; Morrison, S. M.; Yen, A. S.; Chipera, S. J.; hide

    2017-01-01

    The Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover landed in Gale crater in August 2012 to study the layered sediments of lower Aeolis Mons (i.e., Mount Sharp), which have signatures of phyllosilicates, hydrated sulfates, and iron oxides in orbital visible/near-infrared observations. The observed mineralogy within the stratigraphy, from phyllosilicates in lower units to sulfates in higher units, suggests an evolution in the environments in which these secondary phases formed. Curiosity is currently investigating the sedimentary structures, geochemistry, and mineralogy of the Murray formation, the lowest exposed unit of Mount Sharp. The Murray formation is dominated by laminated lacustrine mudstone and is approx.200 m thick. Curiosity previously investigated lacustrine mudstone early in the mission at Yellowknife Bay, which represents the lowest studied stratigraphic unit. Here, we present the minerals identified in lacus-trine mudstone from Yellowknife Bay and the Murray formation. We discuss trends in mineralogy within the stratigraphy and the implications for ancient lacustrine environments, diagenesis, and sediment sources.

  15. Small crater modification on Meridiani Planum and implications for erosion rates and climate change on Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Golombek, M.P.; Warner, N.H.; Ganti, V.; Lamb, M.P.; Parker, T.J.; Fergason, Robin L.; Sullivan, R.

    2014-01-01

    A morphometric and morphologic catalog of ~100 small craters imaged by the Opportunity rover over the 33.5 km traverse between Eagle and Endeavour craters on Meridiani Planum shows craters in six stages of degradation that range from fresh and blocky to eroded and shallow depressions ringed by planed off rim blocks. The age of each morphologic class from <50–200 ka to ~20 Ma has been determined from the size-frequency distribution of craters in the catalog, the retention age of small craters on Meridiani Planum, and the age of the latest phase of ripple migration. The rate of degradation of the craters has been determined from crater depth, rim height, and ejecta removal over the class age. These rates show a rapid decrease from ~1 m/Myr for craters <1 Ma to ~ <0.1 m/Myr for craters 10–20 Ma, which can be explained by topographic diffusion with modeled diffusivities of ~10−6 m2/yr. In contrast to these relatively fast, short-term erosion rates, previously estimated average erosion rates on Mars over ~100 Myr and 3 Gyr timescales from the Amazonian and Hesperian are of order <0.01 m/Myr, which is 3–4 orders of magnitude slower than typical terrestrial rates. Erosion rates during the Middle-Late Noachian averaged over ~250 Myr, and ~700 Myr intervals are around 1 m/Myr, comparable to slow terrestrial erosion rates calculated over similar timescales. This argues for a wet climate before ~3 Ga in which liquid water was the erosional agent, followed by a dry environment dominated by slow eolian erosion.

  16. Wind-Eroded Crater Floors and Intercrater Plains, Terra Sabaea, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Irwin, Rossman P.; Wray, James J.; Mest, Scott C.; Maxwell, Ted A.

    2018-02-01

    Ancient impact craters with wind-eroded layering on their floors provide a record of resurfacing materials and processes on early Mars. In a 54 km Noachian crater in Terra Sabaea (20.2°S, 42.6°E), eolian deflation of a friable, dark-toned layer up to tens of meters thick has exposed more resistant, underlying light-toned material. These layers differ significantly from strata of similar tone described in other regions of Mars. The light-toned material has no apparent internal stratification, and visible/near-infrared spectral analysis suggests that it is rich in feldspar. Its origin is ambiguous, as we cannot confidently reject igneous, pyroclastic, or clastic alternatives. The overlying dark-toned layer is probably a basaltic siltstone or sandstone that was emplaced mostly by wind, although its weak cementation and inverted fluvial paleochannels indicate some modification by water. Negative-relief channels are not found on the crater floor, and fluvial erosion is otherwise weakly expressed in the study area. Small impacts onto this crater's floor have exposed deeper friable materials that appear to contain goethite. Bedrock outcrops on the crater walls are phyllosilicate bearing. The intercrater plains contain remnants of a post-Noachian thin, widespread, likely eolian mantle with an indurated surface. Plains near Hellas-concentric escarpments to the north are more consistent with volcanic resurfacing. A 48 km crater nearby contains similar dark-over-light outcrops but no paleochannels. Our findings indicate that dark-over-light stratigraphy has diverse origins across Mars and that some dark-toned plains with mafic mineralogy are not of igneous origin.

  17. Opportunity Microscopic Imager Results from the Western Rim of Endeavour Crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Arvidson, R. E.; Herkenhoff, K. E.; Mittlefehldt, D. W.; Sullivan, R. J., Jr.

    2015-12-01

    Opportunity has been exploring exposures of Noachian-age rocks along the rim of Endeavour crater since August 2011, motivated by orbital spectral evidence for phyllosilicates at multiple locations along the crater's rim. As reported previously, Opportunity discovered multiple bright linear features at "Cape York" that have been interpreted as veins of Ca sulfate deposited in bedrock fractures, and in-situ measurements are consistent with the presence of smectite clays in rocks and veneers on the east side of Cape York. The inferred neutral pH and relatively low temperature of the fluids involved in multiple phases of alteration would have provided a habitable environment if life existed on Mars at that time. Because Opportunity can no longer directly sense phyllosilicate mineralogy with the MiniTES or Mössbauer spectrometers, it is focusing on characterizing outcrop multispectral reflectance with Pancam, chemistry with the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer and microtexture with the Microscopic Imager (MI) of potential phyllosilicate host rocks. While traversing the western side of "Murray Ridge," Opportunity found outcrops of breccia that are similar in texture and chemical composition to the Shoemaker Formation rocks exposed at Cape York. MI images of the breccias show cm-size angular clasts in fine-grained matrix, consistent with an impact origin. At "Cook Haven," the rover wheels overturned a few rocks, exposing dark Mn-rich coatings and haloes on brighter sulfates (Figure 1), which suggest aqueous precipitation followed by interaction with a strong oxidant. The dark, resistant coatings on "Thessaloniki" are less than about 0.1 mm thick, barely resolved in places by MI stereogrammetry. Opportunity's mission continues, with the rover exploring more exposures of phyllosilicates detected from orbit on "Cape Tribulation." The latest MI results, including observations in "Marathon Valley," will be presented at the conference.

  18. Gravitational Focusing and the Computation of an Accurate Moon/Mars Cratering Ratio

    Science.gov (United States)

    Matney, Mark J.

    2006-01-01

    There have been a number of attempts to use asteroid populations to simultaneously compute cratering rates on the Moon and bodies elsewhere in the Solar System to establish the cratering ratio (e.g., [1],[2]). These works use current asteroid orbit population databases combined with collision rate calculations based on orbit intersections alone. As recent work on meteoroid fluxes [3] have highlighted, however, collision rates alone are insufficient to describe the cratering rates on planetary surfaces - especially planets with stronger gravitational fields than the Moon, such as Earth and Mars. Such calculations also need to include the effects of gravitational focusing, whereby the spatial density of the slower-moving impactors is preferentially "focused" by the gravity of the body. This leads overall to higher fluxes and cratering rates, and is highly dependent on the detailed velocity distributions of the impactors. In this paper, a comprehensive gravitational focusing algorithm originally developed to describe fluxes of interplanetary meteoroids [3] is applied to the collision rates and cratering rates of populations of asteroids and long-period comets to compute better cratering ratios for terrestrial bodies in the Solar System. These results are compared to the calculations of other researchers.

  19. Surface slope effects for ripple orientation on sand dunes in López crater, Terra Tyrrhena region of Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zimbelman, James R.; Johnson, Molly B.

    2017-06-01

    Ripple orientations on small sand dunes (dunes lacking substantial slip faces) at widely distributed sites across Mars have been documented using High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) images, in an effort to determine the last formative aeolian sediment transport direction experienced at these locations. Howard (1977) used field measurements and first principles to derive an expression for determining how much the surface slope on a sand dune deflects the orientation of sand ripples with respect to the formative wind direction. A Digital Terrain Model derived from stereo HiRISE images was used to assess the potential deflection of ripples on sand dunes on the floor of López crater on Mars. Three-quarters of the area covered by sand dunes within the DTM has a surface slope sand dunes on Mars that lack large slip faces. Sand ripples therefore should be good indicators of the most recent sand-transporting winds that have blown across sand dunes on Mars, as long as areas on or very near to slip faces are avoided.

  20. The digital global geologic map of Mars: chronostratigraphic ages, topographic and crater morphologic characteristics, and updated resurfacing history

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tanaka, K.L.; Robbins, S.J.; Fortezzo, C.M.; Skinner, J.A.; Hare, T.M.

    2014-01-01

    A new global geologic map of Mars has been completed in a digital, geographic information system (GIS) format using geospatially controlled altimetry and image data sets. The map reconstructs the geologic history of Mars, which includes many new findings collated in the quarter century since the previous, Viking-based global maps were published, as well as other discoveries that were made during the course of the mapping using new data sets. The technical approach enabled consistent and regulated mapping that is appropriate not only for the map's 1:20,000,000 scale but also for its widespread use by diverse audiences. Each geologic unit outcrop includes basic attributes regarding identity, location, area, crater densities, and chronostratigraphic age. In turn, units are grouped by geographic and lithologic types, which provide synoptic global views of material ages and resurfacing character for the Noachian, Hesperian, and Amazonian periods. As a consequence of more precise and better quality topographic and morphologic data and more complete crater-density dating, our statistical comparisons identify significant refinements for how Martian geologic terrains are characterized. Unit groups show trends in mean elevation and slope that relate to geographic occurrence and geologic origin. In comparison with the previous global geologic map series based on Viking data, the new mapping consists of half the number of units due to simpler, more conservative and globally based approaches to discriminating units. In particular, Noachian highland surfaces overall have high percentages of their areas now dated as an epoch older than in the Viking mapping. Minimally eroded (i.e., pristine) impact craters ≥3 km in diameter occur in greater proportion on Hesperian surfaces. This observation contrasts with a deficit of similarly sized craters on heavily cratered and otherwise degraded Noachian terrain as well as on young Amazonian surfaces. We interpret these as reflecting the

  1. Wind-blown sandstones cemented by sulfate and clay minerals in Gale Crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Milliken, R. E.; Ewing, R. C.; Fischer, W. W.; Hurowitz, J.

    2014-02-01

    Gale Crater contains Mount Sharp, a ~5 km thick stratigraphic record of Mars' early environmental history. The strata comprising Mount Sharp are believed to be sedimentary in origin, but the specific depositional environments recorded by the rocks remain speculative. We present orbital evidence for the occurrence of eolian sandstones within Gale Crater and the lower reaches of Mount Sharp, including preservation of wind-blown sand dune topography in sedimentary strata—a phenomenon that is rare on Earth and typically associated with stabilization, rapid sedimentation, transgression, and submergence of the land surface. The preserved bedforms in Gale are associated with clay minerals and elsewhere accompanied by typical dune cross stratification marked by bounding surfaces whose lateral equivalents contain sulfate salts. These observations extend the range of possible habitable environments that may be recorded within Gale Crater and provide hypotheses that can be tested in situ by the Curiosity rover payload.

  2. A terrestrial weathering and wind abrasion analog for mound and moat morphology of Gale crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chan, Marjorie A.; Netoff, Dennis I.

    2017-05-01

    A striking feature of Gale crater is the 5.5 km high, central layered mound called Mount Sharp (Aeolis Mons)—the major exploration target for the Mars Science Laboratory rover, Curiosity. Within the 154 km diameter crater, low plains (Aeolis Palous) resemble a moat surrounding Mount Sharp. There is a similar terrestrial analog in the Jurassic Navajo Sandstone of southern Utah, USA, where a distinctive weathering pit 60 m wide by 20 m deep contains a central pillar/mound and moat. Strong regional and local winds are funneled to amplify their velocity and produce a Venturi effect that sculpts the pit via wind abrasion. Although the Navajo pit is orders of magnitude smaller than Gale crater, both show comparable morphologies accompanied by erosional wind features. The terrestrial example shows the impact of weathering and the ability of strong winds and vortices to shape lithified sedimentary rock over long periods of time.

  3. The cool and distant formation of Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brasser, R.; Mojzsis, S. J.; Matsumura, S.; Ida, S.

    2017-06-01

    With approximately one ninth of Earth's mass, Mars is widely considered to be a stranded planetary embryo that never became a fully-grown planet. A currently popular planet formation theory predicts that Mars formed near Earth and Venus and was subsequently scattered outwards to its present location. In such a scenario, the compositions of the three planets are expected to be similar to each other. However, bulk elemental and isotopic data for martian meteorites demonstrate that key aspects of Mars' composition are markedly different from that of Earth. This suggests that Mars formed outside of the terrestrial feeding zone during primary accretion. It is therefore probable that Mars always remained significantly farther from the Sun than Earth; its growth was stunted early and its mass remained relatively low. Here we identify a potential dynamical pathway that forms Mars in the asteroid belt and keeps it outside of Earth's accretion zone while at the same time accounting for strict age and compositional constraints, as well as mass differences. Our uncommon pathway (approximately 2% probability) is based on the Grand Tack scenario of terrestrial planet formation, in which the radial migration by Jupiter gravitationally sculpts the planetesimal disc at Mars' current location. We conclude that Mars' formation requires a specific dynamical pathway, while this is less valid for Earth and Venus. We further predict that Mars' volatile budget is most likely different from Earth's and that Venus formed close enough to our planet that it is expected to have a nearly identical composition from common building blocks.

  4. X-ray Diffraction Results from Mars Science Laboratory: Mineralogy of Rocknest at Gale Crater

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bish, D. L.; Blake, D. F.; Vaniman, D. T.; Chipera, S. J.; Morris, R. V.; Ming, D. W.; Treiman, A. H.; Sarrazin, P.; Morrison, S. M.; Downs, R. T.; Achilles, C. N.; Yen, A. S.; Bristow, T. F.; Crisp, J. A.; Morookian, J. M.; Farmer, J. D.; Rampe, E. B.; Stolper, E. M.; Spanovich, N.; Achilles, Cherie; Agard, Christophe; Verdasca, José Alexandre Alves; Anderson, Robert; Anderson, Ryan; Archer, Doug; Armiens-Aparicio, Carlos; Arvidson, Ray; Atlaskin, Evgeny; Atreya, Sushil; Aubrey, Andrew; Baker, Burt; Baker, Michael; Balic-Zunic, Tonci; Baratoux, David; Baroukh, Julien; Barraclough, Bruce; Bean, Keri; Beegle, Luther; Behar, Alberto; Bell, James; Bender, Steve; Benna, Mehdi; Bentz, Jennifer; Berger, Gilles; Berger, Jeff; Berman, Daniel; Bish, David; Blake, David F.; Avalos, Juan J. Blanco; Blaney, Diana; Blank, Jen; Blau, Hannah; Bleacher, Lora; Boehm, Eckart; Botta, Oliver; Böttcher, Stephan; Boucher, Thomas; Bower, Hannah; Boyd, Nick; Boynton, Bill; Breves, Elly; Bridges, John; Bridges, Nathan; Brinckerhoff, William; Brinza, David; Bristow, Thomas; Brunet, Claude; Brunner, Anna; Brunner, Will; Buch, Arnaud; Bullock, Mark; Burmeister, Sönke; Cabane, Michel; Calef, Fred; Cameron, James; Campbell, John "Iain"; Cantor, Bruce; Caplinger, Michael; Rodríguez, Javier Caride; Carmosino, Marco; Blázquez, Isaías Carrasco; Charpentier, Antoine; Chipera, Steve; Choi, David; Clark, Benton; Clegg, Sam; Cleghorn, Timothy; Cloutis, Ed; Cody, George; Coll, Patrice; Conrad, Pamela; Coscia, David; Cousin, Agnès; Cremers, David; Crisp, Joy; Cros, Alain; Cucinotta, Frank; d'Uston, Claude; Davis, Scott; Day, Mackenzie "Kenzie"; Juarez, Manuel de la Torre; DeFlores, Lauren; DeLapp, Dorothea; DeMarines, Julia; DesMarais, David; Dietrich, William; Dingler, Robert; Donny, Christophe; Downs, Bob; Drake, Darrell; Dromart, Gilles; Dupont, Audrey; Duston, Brian; Dworkin, Jason; Dyar, M. Darby; Edgar, Lauren; Edgett, Kenneth; Edwards, Christopher; Edwards, Laurence; Ehlmann, Bethany; Ehresmann, Bent; Eigenbrode, Jen; Elliott, Beverley; Elliott, Harvey; Ewing, Ryan; Fabre, Cécile; Fairén, Alberto; Farley, Ken; Farmer, Jack; Fassett, Caleb; Favot, Laurent; Fay, Donald; Fedosov, Fedor; Feldman, Jason; Feldman, Sabrina; Fisk, Marty; Fitzgibbon, Mike; Flesch, Greg; Floyd, Melissa; Flückiger, Lorenzo; Forni, Olivier; Fraeman, Abby; Francis, Raymond; François, Pascaline; Franz, Heather; Freissinet, Caroline; French, Katherine Louise; Frydenvang, Jens; Gaboriaud, Alain; Gailhanou, Marc; Garvin, James; Gasnault, Olivier; Geffroy, Claude; Gellert, Ralf; Genzer, Maria; Glavin, Daniel; Godber, Austin; Goesmann, Fred; Goetz, Walter; Golovin, Dmitry; Gómez, Felipe Gómez; Gómez-Elvira, Javier; Gondet, Brigitte; Gordon, Suzanne; Gorevan, Stephen; Grant, John; Griffes, Jennifer; Grinspoon, David; Grotzinger, John; Guillemot, Philippe; Guo, Jingnan; Gupta, Sanjeev; Guzewich, Scott; Haberle, Robert; Halleaux, Douglas; Hallet, Bernard; Hamilton, Vicky; Hardgrove, Craig; Harker, David; Harpold, Daniel; Harri, Ari-Matti; Harshman, Karl; Hassler, Donald; Haukka, Harri; Hayes, Alex; Herkenhoff, Ken; Herrera, Paul; Hettrich, Sebastian; Heydari, Ezat; Hipkin, Victoria; Hoehler, Tori; Hollingsworth, Jeff; Hudgins, Judy; Huntress, Wesley; Hurowitz, Joel; Hviid, Stubbe; Iagnemma, Karl; Indyk, Steve; Israël, Guy; Jackson, Ryan; Jacob, Samantha; Jakosky, Bruce; Jensen, Elsa; Jensen, Jaqueline Kløvgaard; Johnson, Jeffrey; Johnson, Micah; Johnstone, Steve; Jones, Andrea; Jones, John; Joseph, Jonathan; Jun, Insoo; Kah, Linda; Kahanpää, Henrik; Kahre, Melinda; Karpushkina, Natalya; Kasprzak, Wayne; Kauhanen, Janne; Keely, Leslie; Kemppinen, Osku; Keymeulen, Didier; Kim, Myung-Hee; Kinch, Kjartan; King, Penny; Kirkland, Laurel; Kocurek, Gary; Koefoed, Asmus; Köhler, Jan; Kortmann, Onno; Kozyrev, Alexander; Krezoski, Jill; Krysak, Daniel; Kuzmin, Ruslan; Lacour, Jean Luc; Lafaille, Vivian; Langevin, Yves; Lanza, Nina; Lasue, Jeremie; Le Mouélic, Stéphane; Lee, Ella Mae; Lee, Qiu-Mei; Lees, David; Lefavor, Matthew; Lemmon, Mark; Malvitte, Alain Lepinette; Leshin, Laurie; Léveillé, Richard; Lewin-Carpintier, Éric; Lewis, Kevin; Li, Shuai; Lipkaman, Leslie; Little, Cynthia; Litvak, Maxim; Lorigny, Eric; Lugmair, Guenter; Lundberg, Angela; Lyness, Eric; Madsen, Morten; Mahaffy, Paul; Maki, Justin; Malakhov, Alexey; Malespin, Charles; Malin, Michael; Mangold, Nicolas; Manhes, Gérard; Manning, Heidi; Marchand, Geneviève; Jiménez, Mercedes Marín; García, César Martín; Martin, Dave; Martin, Mildred; Martínez-Frías, Jesús; Martín-Soler, Javier; Martín-Torres, F. Javier; Mauchien, Patrick; Maurice, Sylvestre; McAdam, Amy; McCartney, Elaina; McConnochie, Timothy; McCullough, Emily; McEwan, Ian; McKay, Christopher; McLennan, Scott; McNair, Sean; Melikechi, Noureddine; Meslin, Pierre-Yves; Meyer, Michael; Mezzacappa, Alissa; Miller, Hayden; Miller, Kristen; Milliken, Ralph; Ming, Douglas; Minitti, Michelle; Mischna, Michael; Mitrofanov, Igor; Moersch, Jeff; Mokrousov, Maxim; Jurado, Antonio Molina; Moores, John; Mora-Sotomayor, Luis; Morookian, John Michael; Morris, Richard; Morrison, Shaunna; Mueller-Mellin, Reinhold; Muller, Jan-Peter; Caro, Guillermo Muñoz; Nachon, Marion; López, Sara Navarro; Navarro-González, Rafael; Nealson, Kenneth; Nefian, Ara; Nelson, Tony; Newcombe, Megan; Newman, Claire; Newsom, Horton; Nikiforov, Sergey; Niles, Paul; Nixon, Brian; Dobrea, Eldar Noe; Nolan, Thomas; Oehler, Dorothy; Ollila, Ann; Olson, Timothy; Owen, Tobias; Hernández, Miguel Ángel de Pablo; Paillet, Alexis; Pallier, Etienne; Palucis, Marisa; Parker, Timothy; Parot, Yann; Patel, Kiran; Paton, Mark; Paulsen, Gale; Pavlov, Alex; Pavri, Betina; Peinado-González, Verónica; Pepin, Robert; Peret, Laurent; Perez, Rene; Perrett, Glynis; Peterson, Joe; Pilorget, Cedric; Pinet, Patrick; Pla-García, Jorge; Plante, Ianik; Poitrasson, Franck; Polkko, Jouni; Popa, Radu; Posiolova, Liliya; Posner, Arik; Pradler, Irina; Prats, Benito; Prokhorov, Vasily; Purdy, Sharon Wilson; Raaen, Eric; Radziemski, Leon; Rafkin, Scot; Ramos, Miguel; Rampe, Elizabeth; Raulin, François; Ravine, Michael; Reitz, Günther; Rennó, Nilton; Rice, Melissa; Richardson, Mark; Robert, François; Robertson, Kevin; Manfredi, José Antonio Rodriguez; Romeral-Planelló, Julio J.; Rowland, Scott; Rubin, David; Saccoccio, Muriel; Salamon, Andrew; Sandoval, Jennifer; Sanin, Anton; Fuentes, Sara Alejandra Sans; Saper, Lee; Sarrazin, Philippe; Sautter, Violaine; Savijärvi, Hannu; Schieber, Juergen; Schmidt, Mariek; Schmidt, Walter; Scholes, Daniel "Dan"; Schoppers, Marcel; Schröder, Susanne; Schwenzer, Susanne; Martinez, Eduardo Sebastian; Sengstacken, Aaron; Shterts, Ruslan; Siebach, Kirsten; Siili, Tero; Simmonds, Jeff; Sirven, Jean-Baptiste; Slavney, Susie; Sletten, Ronald; Smith, Michael; Sánchez, Pablo Sobrón; Spanovich, Nicole; Spray, John; Squyres, Steven; Stack, Katie; Stalport, Fabien; Steele, Andrew; Stein, Thomas; Stern, Jennifer; Stewart, Noel; Stipp, Susan Louise Svane; Stoiber, Kevin; Stolper, Ed; Sucharski, Bob; Sullivan, Rob; Summons, Roger; Sumner, Dawn; Sun, Vivian; Supulver, Kimberley; Sutter, Brad; Szopa, Cyril; Tan, Florence; Tate, Christopher; Teinturier, Samuel; ten Kate, Inge; Thomas, Peter; Thompson, Lucy; Tokar, Robert; Toplis, Mike; Redondo, Josefina Torres; Trainer, Melissa; Treiman, Allan; Tretyakov, Vladislav; Urqui-O'Callaghan, Roser; Van Beek, Jason; Van Beek, Tessa; VanBommel, Scott; Vaniman, David; Varenikov, Alexey; Vasavada, Ashwin; Vasconcelos, Paulo; Vicenzi, Edward; Vostrukhin, Andrey; Voytek, Mary; Wadhwa, Meenakshi; Ward, Jennifer; Webster, Chris; Weigle, Eddie; Wellington, Danika; Westall, Frances; Wiens, Roger Craig; Wilhelm, Mary Beth; Williams, Amy; Williams, Joshua; Williams, Rebecca; Williams, Richard B. "Mouser"; Wilson, Mike; Wimmer-Schweingruber, Robert; Wolff, Mike; Wong, Mike; Wray, James; Wu, Megan; Yana, Charles; Yen, Albert; Yingst, Aileen; Zeitlin, Cary; Zimdar, Robert; Mier, María-Paz Zorzano

    2013-09-01

    The Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity scooped samples of soil from the Rocknest aeolian bedform in Gale crater. Analysis of the soil with the Chemistry and Mineralogy (CheMin) x-ray diffraction (XRD) instrument revealed plagioclase (~An57), forsteritic olivine (~Fo62), augite, and pigeonite, with minor K-feldspar, magnetite, quartz, anhydrite, hematite, and ilmenite. The minor phases are present at, or near, detection limits. The soil also contains 27 ± 14 weight percent x-ray amorphous material, likely containing multiple Fe3+- and volatile-bearing phases, including possibly a substance resembling hisingerite. The crystalline component is similar to the normative mineralogy of certain basaltic rocks from Gusev crater on Mars and of martian basaltic meteorites. The amorphous component is similar to that found on Earth in places such as soils on the Mauna Kea volcano, Hawaii.

  5. Uniaxial Compressive Strengths of Rocks Drilled at Gale Crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Peters, G. H.; Carey, E. M.; Anderson, R. C.; Abbey, W. J.; Kinnett, R.; Watkins, J. A.; Schemel, M.; Lashore, M. O.; Chasek, M. D.; Green, W.; Beegle, L. W.; Vasavada, A. R.

    2018-01-01

    Measuring the physical properties of geological materials is important for understanding geologic history. Yet there has never been an instrument with the purpose of measuring mechanical properties of rocks sent to another planet. The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) rover employs the Powder Acquisition Drill System (PADS), which provides direct mechanical interaction with Martian outcrops. While the objective of the drill system is not to make scientific measurements, the drill's performance is directly influenced by the mechanical properties of the rocks it drills into. We have developed a methodology that uses the drill to indicate the uniaxial compressive strengths of rocks through comparison with performance of an identically assembled drill system in terrestrial samples of comparable sedimentary class. During this investigation, we utilize engineering data collected on Mars to calculate the percussive energy needed to maintain a prescribed rate of penetration and correlate that to rock strength.

  6. Influence of Fault-Controlled Topography on Fluvio-Deltaic Sedimentary Systems in Eberswalde Crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rice, Melissa S.; Gupta, Sanjeev; Bell, James F., III; Warner, Nicholas H.

    2011-01-01

    Eberswalde crater was selected as a candidate landing site for the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission based on the presence of a fan-shaped sedimentary deposit interpreted as a delta. We have identified and mapped five other candidate fluvio -deltaic systems in the crater, using images and digital terrain models (DTMs) derived from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) and Context Camera (CTX). All of these systems consist of the same three stratigraphic units: (1) an upper layered unit, conformable with (2) a subpolygonally fractured unit, unconformably overlying (3) a pitted unit. We have also mapped a system of NNE-trending scarps interpreted as dip-slip faults that pre-date the fluvial -lacustrine deposits. The post-impact regional faulting may have generated the large-scale topography within the crater, which consists of a Western Basin, an Eastern Basin, and a central high. This topography subsequently provided depositional sinks for sediment entering the crater and controlled the geomorphic pattern of delta development.

  7. Organic Molecules in the Sheepbed Mudstone, Gale Crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Freissinet, C.; Glavin, D. P.; Mahaffy, P. R.; Miller, K. E.; Eigenbrode, J. L.; Summons, R. E.; Brunner, A. E.; Buch, A.; Szopa, C.; Archer, P. D.; hide

    2014-01-01

    The Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument on the Curiosity rover is designed to determine the inventory of organic and inorganic volatiles thermally released from solid samples using a combination of evolved gas analysis (EGA), gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GCMS), and tunable laser spectroscopy. Here we report on various chlorinated hydrocarbons (chloromethanes, chlorobenzene and dichloroalkanes) detected at elevated levels above instrument background at the Cumberland (CB) drill site, and discuss their possible sources.

  8. Structural uplift and ejecta thickness of lunar mare craters: New insights into the formation of complex crater rims

    Science.gov (United States)

    Krüger, Tim; Kenkmann, Thomas

    2015-04-01

    on High-resolution imagery from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera [8] we studied several complex lunar craters and precisely measured their total rim height, the amount of structural uplift and the ejecta thickness along the final crater rim. Our detailed investigation is focused on the lunar mare craters Bessel (16 km), Euler (28 km), Kepler (32 km), Harpalus (39 km) and Bürg (41 km). A mean of 70.6% of the rim height of the final crater of the five lunar craters is due to the structural uplift of the target. The rest is contributed by the ejecta thickness (29.4 %). These results are in good agreement with previous studies [1]. The final crater diameter is given as a multiple of the transient crater diameter (DT) for all investigated craters: Bessel (1.01DT), Euler (1.16DT), Kepler (1.21DT), Harpalus (1.40DT) and Bürg (1.10DT). The transient crater diameter increases with the diameter of the final crater. Currently we are assessing the mechanism of a structural uplift at larger distance to the transient cavity rim. The structural uplift of the crater rim only by dike injection and plastic deformation in the underlying target material seems unlikely at distances >1 km from the transient crater cavity. Other mechanisms, like reverse faulting, beginning in the excavation stage of crater formation, could be responsible for additional structural uplift of the crater rim. Nevertheless, our results show that structural uplift is a more dominant effect than ejecta emplacement for complex impact craters. References: [1] Sharpton V.L. (2014) JGR, 119, 1, 154-168. [2] Melosh H.J. (1989) Oxford monographs on geology and geophysics, 11, Impact cratering: a geologic process. [3] Shoemaker E. M. (1963) The Solar System, 4, 301-336. [4] Poelchau M.H. et al. (2009) JGR, 114, E01006. [5] Settle M., and Head J.W. (1977) Icarus, v. 31, p. 123. [6] McGetchin, T. R., Settle, M. and Head, J. W. 1973. EPSL 20: 226-236. [7] Pike R. J. (1974) EPSL, 23, 265-274. [8] Robinson M.S. et

  9. Usability of small impact craters on small surface areas in crater count dating: Analysing examples from the Harmakhis Vallis outflow channel, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kukkonen, S.; Kostama, V.-P.

    2018-05-01

    The availability of very high-resolution images has made it possible to extend crater size-frequency distribution studies to small, deca/hectometer-scale craters. This has enabled the dating of small and young surface units, as well as recent, short-time and small-scale geologic processes that have occurred on the units. Usually, however, the higher the spatial resolution of space images is, the smaller area is covered by the images. Thus the use of single, very high-resolution images in crater count age determination may be debatable if the images do not cover the studied region entirely. Here we compare the crater count results for the floor of the Harmakhis Vallis outflow channel obtained from the images of the ConTeXt camera (CTX) and High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). The CTX images enable crater counts for entire units on the Harmakhis Vallis main valley, whereas the coverage of the higher-resolution HiRISE images is limited and thus the images can only be used to date small parts of the units. Our case study shows that the crater count data based on small impact craters and small surface areas mainly correspond with the crater count data based on larger craters and more extensive counting areas on the same unit. If differences between the results were founded, they could usually be explained by the regional geology. Usually, these differences appeared when at least one cratering model age is missing from either of the crater datasets. On the other hand, we found only a few cases in which the cratering model ages were completely different. We conclude that the crater counts using small impact craters on small counting areas provide useful information about the geological processes which have modified the surface. However, it is important to remember that all the crater counts results obtained from a specific counting area always primarily represent the results from the counting area-not the whole

  10. The stratigraphy and history of Mars' northern lowlands through mineralogy of impact craters: A comprehensive survey

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pan, Lu; Ehlmann, Bethany L.; Carter, John; Ernst, Carolyn M.

    2017-09-01

    The basin-filling materials of the northern lowlands, which cover approximately one third of Mars' surface, record the long-term evolution of Mars' geology and climate. The buried stratigraphy was inferred through analyses of impact crater mineralogy, detected using data acquired by the Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars. Examining 1045 impact craters across the northern lowlands, we find widespread olivine and pyroxene and diverse hydrated/hydroxylated minerals, including Fe/Mg smectite, chlorite, prehnite, and hydrated silica. The distribution of mafic minerals is consistent with infilling volcanic materials across the entire lowlands ( 1-4 × 107 km3), indicating a significant volume of volatile release by volcanic outgassing. Hydrated/hydroxylated minerals are detected more frequently in large craters, consistent with the scenario that the hydrated minerals are being excavated from deep basement rocks, beneath 1-2 km thick mafic lava flows or volcaniclastic materials. The prevalences of different types of hydrated minerals are similar to statistics from the southern highlands. No evidence of concentrated salt deposits has been found, which would indicate a long-lived global ocean. We also find significant geographical variations of local mineralogy and stratigraphy in different basins (geological provinces), independent of dust cover. For example, many hydrated and mafic minerals are newly discovered within the polar Scandia region (>60°N), and Chryse Planitia has more mafic mineral detections than other basins, possibly due to a previously unrecognized volcanic source.

  11. Alkaline volcanic rocks from the Columbia Hills, Gusev crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    McSween, H.Y.; Ruff, S.W.; Morris, R.V.; Bell, J.F.; Herkenhoff, K.; Gellert, Ralf; Stockstill, K.R.; Tornabene, L.L.; Squyres, S. W.; Crisp, J.A.; Christensen, P.R.; McCoy, T.J.; Mittlefehldt, D. W.; Schmidt, M.

    2006-01-01

    Irvine, Backstay, and Wishstone are the type specimens for three classes of fine-grained or fragmental, relatively unaltered rocks with distinctive thermal emission spectra, found as float on the flanks of the Columbia Hills. Chemical analyses indicate that these rocks are mildly alkaline basalt, trachybasalt, and tephrite, respectively. Their mineralogy consists of Na- and K-rich feldspar(s), low- and high-Ca pyroxenes, ferroan olivine, Fe-Ti (and possibly Cr) oxides, phosphate, and possibly glass. The texture of Wishstone is consistent with a pyroclastic origin, whereas Irvine and Backstay are lavas or possibly dike rocks. Chemical compositions of these rocks plot on or near liquid lines of descent for most elements calculated for Adirondack class rocks (olivine-rich basalts from the Gusev plains) at various pressures from 0.1 to 1.0 GPa. We infer that Wishstone-, Backstay-, and Irvine-class magmas may have formed by fractionation of primitive, oxidized basaltic magma similar to Adirondack-class rocks. The compositions of all these rocks reveal that the Gusev magmatic province is alkaline, distinct from the subalkaline volcanic rocks thought to dominate most of the planet's surface. The fact that differentiated volcanic rocks were not encountered on the plains prior to ascending Husband Hill may suggest a local magma source for volcanism beneath Gusev crater. Copyright 2006 by the American Geophysical Union.

  12. Possible crater-based pingos, paleolakes and periglacial landscapes at the high latitudes of Utopia Planitia, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Soare, R. J.; Conway, S. J.; Pearce, G. D.; Dohm, J. M.; Grindrod, P. M.

    2013-08-01

    Closed-system pingos (CSPs) are perennial ice-cored mounds that evolve in relatively deep and continuous permafrost. They occur where thermokarst lakes either have lost or are losing their water by drainage or evaporation and by means of freeze-thaw cycling, permafrost aggradation and pore-water migration. The presence of CSPs on Mars, particularly on late-Amazonian Epoch terrain at near-polar latitudes, would indicate: (1) the antecedent occurrence of ponded water at the mound-formation sites; (2) freeze-thaw cycling of this water; and (3) boundary-conditions of pressure and temperature at or above the triple point of water much more recently and further to the north than has been thought possible. In 2005 we studied two crater-floor landscapes in northern Utopia Planitia and used MOC narrow-angle images to describe mounds within these landscapes that shared a suite of geological characteristics with CSPs on Earth. Here, we show the results of a circum-global search for similar crater-floor landscapes at latitudes >˜55°N. The search incorporates all relevant MOC and HiRISE images released since 2005. In addition to the two periglacially suggestive crater-floor landscapes observed by us earlier, we have identified three other crater floors with similar landscapes. Interestingly, each of the five mound-bearing craters occur within a tight latitudinal-band (˜64-69°N); this could be a marker of periglacial landscape-modification on a regional scale. Just to the north of the crater-based pingo-like mounds Conway et al. have identified large (km-scale) crater-based perennial ice-domes. They propose that the ice domes develop when regional polar-winds transport and precipitate icy material onto the floor of their host craters. Under a slightly different obliquity-solution ice domes could have accumulated at the lower latitudes where the putative CSPs have been observed. Subsequently, were temperatures to have migrated close to or at 0 °C the ice domes could have

  13. Method for Identifying Lava Tubes Among Pit Craters Using Brightness Profile Across Pits on the Moon or Mars

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jongil Jung

    2016-03-01

    Full Text Available Caves can serve as major outposts for future human exploration of the Moon and Mars. In addition, caves can protect people and electronic equipment from external hazards such as cosmic ray radiation and meteorites impacts and serve as a shelter. Numerous pit craters have been discovered on the Moon and Mars and are potential entrances to caves; the principal topographic features of pit craters are their visible internal floors and pits with vertical walls. We have devised two topographical models for investigating the relationship between the topographical characteristics and the inner void of pit craters. One of our models is a concave floor void model and the other is a convex floor tube model. For each model, optical photographs have been obtained under conditions similar to those in which optical photographs have been acquired for craters on the Moon and Mars. Brightness profiles were analyzed for determining the profile patterns of the void pit craters. The profile patterns were compared to the brightness profiles of Martian pit craters, because no good-quality images of lunar pit craters were available. In future studies, the model profile patterns will be compared to those of lunar pit craters, and the proposed method will likely become useful for finding lunar caves and consequently for planning lunar bases for manned lunar expeditions.

  14. Paleoenvironmental Implications of Clay Minerals at Yellowknife Bay, Gale Crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bristow, Thomas F.; Blake, David F.

    2014-01-01

    The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Rover, Curiosity spent approx 150 sols at Yellowknife Bay (YKB) studying a section of fluvio-lacustrine sedimentary rocks (with potential indications of volcanic influence), informally known as the Yellowknife Bay formation. YKB lies in a distal region of the Peace Vallis alluvial fan, which extends from the northern rim of Gale Crater toward the dune field at the base of Mt Sharp. Sedimentological and stratigraphic observations are consistent with the Yellowknife Bay formation being part of a distal fan deposit, which could be as young as middle Hesperian to even early Amazonian in age (approx. 3.5 to 2.5 Ga). The Yellowknife Bay formation hosts a unit of mudstone called the Sheepbed member. Curiosity obtained powdered rock samples from two drill holes in the Sheepbed Member, named John Klein and Cumberland, and delivered them to instruments in Curiosity. Data from CheMin, a combined X-ray diffraction (XRD)/X-ray fluorescence instrument (XRF), has allowed detailed mineralogical analysis of mudstone powders revealing a clay mineral component of approx. 20 wt.% in each sample. The clay minerals are important indicators of paleoenvironmental conditions and sensitive recorders of post-depositional alteration processes. The XRD pattern of John Klein reveals a 02l band consistent with a trioctahedral phyllosilicate. A broad peak at approx. 10A with a slight inflexion at approx. 12A indicates the presence of 2:1 type clay minerals in the John Klein sample. The trioctahedral nature of the clay minerals, breadth of the basal reflection, and presence of a minor component with larger basal spacing suggests that John Klein contains a trioctahedral smectite (probably saponite), whose interlayer is largely collapsed because of the low-humidity conditions. The XRD patterns show no evidence of corrensite (mixed-layer chlorite/smectite) or chlorite, which are typical diagenetic products of trioctahedral smectites when subjected to burial and

  15. Remote Sensing of Mars: Detection of Impact Craters on the Mars Global Surveyor DTM by Integrating Edge- and Region-Based Algorithms

    Science.gov (United States)

    Athanassas, C. D.; Vaiopoulos, A.; Kolokoussis, P.; Argialas, D.

    2018-03-01

    This study integrates two different computer vision approaches, namely the circular Hough transform (CHT) and the determinant of Hessian (DoH), to detect automatically the largest number possible of craters of any size on the digital terrain model (DTM) generated by the Mars Global Surveyor mission. Specifically, application of the standard version of CHT to the DTM captured a great number of craters with diameter smaller than 50 km only, failing to capture larger craters. On the other hand, DoH was successful in detecting craters that were undetected by CHT, but its performance was deterred by the irregularity of the topographic surface encompassed: strongly undulated and inclined (trended) topographies hindered crater detection. When run on a de-trended DTM (and keeping the topology unaltered) DoH scored higher. Current results, although not optimal, encourage combined use of CHT and DoH for routine crater detection undertakings.

  16. Aeolian processes in Proctor Crater on Mars: Sedimentary history as analyzed from multiple data sets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fenton, L.K.; Bandfield, J.L.; Ward, A.W.

    2003-01-01

    Proctor Crater is a 150 km diameter crater in Noachis Terra, within the southern highlands of Mars. The analysis leading to the sedimentary history incorporates several data sets including imagery, elevation, composition, and thermal inertia, mostly from the Mars Global Surveyor mission. The resulting stratigraphy reveals that the sedimentary history of Proctor Crater has involved a complex interaction of accumulating and eroding sedimentation. Aeolian features spanning much of the history of the crater interior dominate its surface, including large erosional pits, stratified beds of aeolian sediment, sand dunes, erosional and depositional streaks, dust devil tracks, and small bright bed forms that are probably granule ripples. Long ago, up to 450 m of layered sediment filled the crater basin, now exposed in eroded pits on the crater floor. These sediments are probably part of an ancient deposit of aeolian volcaniclastic material. Since then, some quantity of this material has been eroded from the top layers of the strata. Small, bright dune forms lie stratigraphically beneath the large dark dune field. Relative to the large dark dunes, the bright bed forms are immobile, although in places, their orientations are clearly influenced by the presence of the larger dunes. Their prevalence in the crater and their lack of compositional and thermal distinctiveness relative to the crater floor suggests that these features were produced locally from the eroding basin fill. Dust devil tracks form during the spring and summer, following a west-southwesterly wind. Early in the spring the dust devils are largely restricted to dark patches of sand. As the summer approaches, dust devil tracks become more plentiful and spread to the rest of the crater floor, indicating that the entire region acquires an annual deposit of dust that is revealed by seasonal dust devils. The dark dunes contain few dust devil tracks, suggesting that accumulated dust is swept away directly by saltation

  17. Mud volcanism and morphology of impact craters in Utopia Planitia on Mars: Evidence for the ancient ocean

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ivanov, Mikhail A.; Hiesinger, H.; Erkeling, G.; Reiss, D.

    2014-01-01

    Results of our detailed geological mapping and interpretation of the nature and relative and absolute model ages of units and structures in the SW portion of Utopia Planitia (20-45°N, 100-120°E) suggest the following. (1) The size-frequency distribution (SFD) of craters that both are buried by materials of the Vastitas Borealis units (VB) and superpose its surface indicate that the absolute model ages of terrain predating the emplacement of the VB is ˜3.7 Ga. (2) Lack of craters that are partly embayed by materials of the VB in the SW portion of Utopia Planitia implies that the emplacement of the VB was faster than the rate of accumulation of impact craters and is consistent with the geologically short time of emplacement of the VB due to catastrophic release of water from outflow channels (e.g., Carr, M.H. [1996]. Water on Mars. Oxford University Press, New York, p. 229). (3) The SFD of craters that superpose the surface of the VB indicates an absolute model age of ˜3.6-3.5 Ga. The absolute model ages of etched flows, which represent the upper stratigraphic limit of the VB, are estimated to be ˜3.5 Ga. (4) The majority of the larger (i.e., >1 km) impact craters show ejecta morphologies (rampart and pancake-like ejecta) that are indicative of the presence of ice/water in the target materials. The distal portions of the pancake-like ejecta are heavily degraded (not due to embayment). This suggests that these craters formed in targets that contained higher abundances of volatiles. (5) The diameter ranges of the craters with either rampart- or pancake-like ejecta are overlapping (from ˜2 to ˜60 km). Craters with pancake-like ejecta are concentrated within the central portion of the Utopia basin (less than ˜1000 km from the basin center) and rampart craters occur at the periphery of the basin. This pattern of the crater spatial distribution suggests that materials within the center of Utopia Planitia contained more ice/water. (6) Etched flows around the central

  18. Visible and Near-Infrared Spectroscopy of Hephaestus Fossae Cratered Cones, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dapremont, A.; Wray, J. J.

    2017-12-01

    Hephaestus Fossae are a system of sub-parallel fractures on Mars (> 500 km long) interpreted as near-surface tensional cracks [1]. Images of the Martian surface from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment have revealed cratered cones within the Hephaestus Fossae region. A volcanic origin (cinder/tuff cones) has been proposed for these features based on morphometric measurements and fine-scale surface characteristics [2]. In an effort to further constrain the origin of these cones as the products of igneous or sedimentary volcanism, we use data from the Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM). We take advantage of CRISM's S (0.4 - 1.0 microns) and L (1.0 - 3.9 microns) detector wavelength ranges to investigate the presence or absence of spectral signatures consistent with previous identifications of igneous and mud volcanism products on Mars [3,4]. Hephaestus Fossae cratered cone rims exhibit a consistent nanophase ferric oxide signature. We also identify ferrous phases and 3-micron absorptions (attributed to fundamental vibrational stretch frequencies in H2O) on the crater rims of several cones. Mafic signatures on cratered cone rims support an igneous provenance for these features. The 3-micron absorptions are consistent with the presence of structurally bound or adsorbed water. Our CRISM observations are similar to those of small edifice features in Chryse Planitia, which were interpreted as mud volcanism products based on their enrichment of nanophase ferric minerals and 3-micron absorptions on summit crater rims [3]. Hydrothermal activity was invoked for a Coprates Chasma pitted cone (scoria/tuff cone) based on CRISM identification of partially dehydrated opaline silica, which we do not observe in Hephaestus Fossae [4]. Our spectral observations are more consistent with mud volcanism, but we do not definitively rule out an igneous volcanic origin for the cones in our study region. We demonstrate that VNIR spectroscopy is a valuable

  19. Potential Cement Phases in Sedimentary Rocks Drilled by Curiosity at Gale Crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rampe, E. B.; Morris, R. V.; Bish, D. L.; Chipera, S. J.; Ming, D. W.; Blake, D. F.; Vaniman, D. T.; Bristow, T. F.; Cavanagh, P.; Farmer, J. D.; hide

    2015-01-01

    The Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity has encountered a variety of sedimentary rocks in Gale crater with different grain sizes, diagenetic features, sedimentary structures, and varying degrees of resistance to erosion. Curiosity has drilled three rocks to date and has analyzed the mineralogy, chemical composition, and textures of the samples with the science payload. The drilled rocks are the Sheepbed mudstone at Yellowknife Bay on the plains of Gale crater (John Klein and Cumberland targets), the Dillinger sandstone at the Kimberley on the plains of Gale crater (Windjana target), and a sedimentary unit in the Pahrump Hills in the lowermost rocks at the base of Mt. Sharp (Confidence Hills target). CheMin is the Xray diffractometer on Curiosity, and its data are used to identify and determine the abundance of mineral phases. Secondary phases can tell us about aqueous alteration processes and, thus, can help to elucidate past aqueous environments. Here, we present the secondary mineralogy of the rocks drilled to date as seen by CheMin and discuss past aqueous environments in Gale crater, the potential cementing agents in each rock, and how amorphous materials may play a role in cementing the sediments.

  20. Geomorphology and Geology of the Southwestern Margaritifer Sinus and Argyre Regions of Mars. Part 4: Flow Ejecta Crater Distribution

    Science.gov (United States)

    Parker, T. J.; Pieri, D. C.

    1985-01-01

    Flow ejecta craters - craters surrounded by lobate ejecta blankets - are found throughout the study area. The ratio of the crater's diameter to that of the flow ejecta in this region is approximately 40 to 45%. Flow ejecta craters are dominantly sharply defined craters, with slightly degraded craters being somewhat less common. This is probably indicative of the ejecta's relatively low resistence to weathering and susceptibility to burial. Flow ejecta craters here seem to occur within a narrow range of crater sizes - the smallest being about 4km in diameter and the largest being about 27km in diameter. Ejecta blankets of craters at 4km are easily seen and those of smaller craters are simply not seen even in images with better than average resolution for the region. This may be due to the depth of excavation of small impacting bodies being insufficient to reach volatile-rich material. Flow ejecta craters above 24km are rare, and those craters above 27km do not display flow ejecta blankets. This may be a result of an excavation depth so great that the volatile content of the ejecta is insufficient to form a fluid ejecta blanket. The geomorphic/geologic unit appears also to play an important role in the formation of flow ejecta craters. Given the typical size range for the occurrence of flow ejecta craters for most units, it can be seen that the percentage of flow ejecta craters to the total number of craters within this size range varies significantly from one unit to the next. The wide variance in flow ejecta crater density over this relatively small geographical area argues strongly for a lithologic control of their distribution.

  1. Diagenetic Features in Yellowknife Bay, Gale Crater, Mars: Implications for Substrate Rheology and Potential Gas Release

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kah, L. C.; Stack, K; Siebach, K.; Grotzinger, J.; Summer, D.; Farien, A.; Oehler, D.; Schieber, J.; Leville, R.; Edgar, L; hide

    2014-01-01

    Multiple diagenetic features have been observed in clay­-bearing mudstone exposed within Yellowknife Bay, Gale Crater, Mars. These features occurred during at least two separate episodes: an early generation of spheroidal concretions that co-­occur with a dense networks of mineralized fractures, and a later generation of mineralized veins. Concretions consist of mm-sized spheroids (0.4 to 8.0 mm, mean diameter of 1.2 mm) that are distinctly more resistant than the encompassing mudstone. Dissected spheroids suggest an origin via compaction and incipient lithification of the substrate at the perimeter of syndepositional void space. Concretions are generally patchy in their distribution within clay--bearing mudstone, but in places can be the dominant fabric element. Locally dense networks of mineralized fractures occur in regions of low concretion abundance. These consist of short (< 50 cm), curvilinear to planar mineralized voids that occur across a range of orientations from vertical to subhorizontal. Fractures are filled by multi-phase cement consisting of two isopachous, erosionally resistant outer bands, and a central less resistant fill. Physical relationships suggests that original fractures may have formed as both interconnected voids and as discrete cross--cutting features. Co--occurrence of early diagenetic concretions and fracture networks suggests a common origin via gas release within a subaqueous, shallow substrate. We suggest that gas release within weakly cohesive subsurface sediments resulted in substrate dewatering and an increase in the cohesive strength of the substrate. Local differences in substrate strength and rate of gas production would have result in formation of either discrete voids or fracture networks. A second generation of mineralized veins is characterized by a regionally low spatial density, predominantly vertical or horizontal orientations, and a single phase of Ca--sulfate mineral fill. These veins cross-cut the early diagenetic

  2. Alumina+Silica+/-Germanium Alteration in Smectite-Bearing Marathon Valley, Endeavour Crater Rim, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mittlefehldt, D. W.; Gellert, R.; Van Bommel, S.; Arvidson, R. E.; Clark, B. C.; Ming, D. W.; Schroeder, C.; Yen, A. S.; Fox, V. K.; Farrand, W. H.; hide

    2016-01-01

    Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity has been exploring Mars for 12+ years, and is presently investigating the geology of a western rim segment of 22 kilometers diameter, Noachian- aged Endeavour crater. The Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer has determined the compositions of a pre-impact lithology, the Matijevic fm., and polymict impact breccias ejected from the crater, the Shoemaker fm. Opportunity is now investigating a region named Marathon Valley that cuts southwest-northeast through the central portion of the rim segment and provides a window into the lower stratigraphic record. (Geographic names used here are informal.) At the head of Marathon Valley, referred to here as Upper Marathon Valley, is a shallow, ovoid depression approximately 25×35 millimeters in size, named Spirit of Saint Louis. Layering inside Spirit of Saint Louis appears continuous with the Upper Marathon Valley rocks outside, indicating they are coeval. Spirit of Saint Louis is partly bounded by approximately 10-20 centimeters wide zone containing reddish altered rocks (red zone). Red zones also form prominent curvilinear features in Marathon Valley. Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM) spectra provide evidence for a really extensive Fe-Mg smectite in the Marathon Valley region, indicating distinct styles of aqueous alteration. The CRISM detections of smectites are based on metal-OH absorptions at approximately 2.3 and 2.4 micron that are at least two times the background noise level.

  3. Localized and Areally Extensive Alterations in Marathon Valley, Endeavour Crater Rim, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mittlefehldt, David W.; Gellert, Ralf; Van Bommel, Scott; Arvidson, Raymond E.; Clark, Benton C.; Cohen, Barbara A.; Farrand, William H.; Ming, Douglas W.; Schroeder, Christian; Yen, Albert S.; hide

    2016-01-01

    Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity is exploring the rim of 22 km diameter, Noachian-aged Endeavour crater. Marathon Valley cuts through the central region of the western rim providing a window into the local lower rim stratigraphic record. Spectra from the Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars show evidence for the occurrence of Fe-Mg smectite in this valley, indicating areally extensive and distinct lithologic units and/or styles of aqueous alteration. The Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer has determined the compositions of 59 outcrop targets on untreated, brushed and abraded surfaces. Rocks in the Marathon Valley region are soft breccias composed of mm- to cm-sized darker clasts set in a lighter-toned, finegrained matrix. They are basaltic in non-volatile-element composition and compositionally similar to breccias investigated elsewhere on the rim. Alteration styles recorded in the rocks include: (1) Enrichments in Si, Al, Ti and Cr in more reddish-colored rock, consistent with leaching of more soluble cations and/or precipitation of Si +/- Al, Ti, Cr from fluids. Coprecipitation of Ge-rich phases with Si occurred in the western area only; high water:rock is indicated. Pancam multispectral observations indicate higher nanophase ferric oxide contents, but the rocks have lower Fe contents. The highly localized nature of the red zones indicate they cannot be the source of the widespread smectite signature observed from orbit. (2) Outcrops separated by approximately 65 m show common compositional changes between brushed and abraded (approximately 1 mm deep) targets: increases in S and Mg; decreases in Al, Cl and Ca. These changes are likely due to relatively recent, surface-related alteration of valley rocks and formation of surface coatings under low water:rock. (3) One target, from the center of a region of strong CRISM smectite signature, shows modest differences in composition (higher Si, K; lower Mn) compared to most Marathon Valley rocks, while

  4. Wildfires Caused by Formation of Small Impact Craters: A Kaali Crater Case

    Science.gov (United States)

    Losiak, Anna; Belcher, Claire; Hudspith, Victoria; Zhu, Menghua; Bronikowska, Malgorzata; Jõeleht, Argo; Plado, Juri

    2016-04-01

    Formation of ~200-km Chicxulub 65 Ma ago was associated with release of significant amount of thermal energy [1,2,3] which was sufficient to start wildfires that had either regional [4] or global [5] range. The evidence for wildfires caused by impacts smaller than Chicxulub is inconclusive. On one hand, no signs of fires are associated with the formation of 24-km Ries crater [6]. On the other hand, the Tunguska site was burned after the impact and the numerical models of the bolide-produced thermal radiation suggest that the Tunguska-like event would produce a thermal flux to the surface that is sufficient to ignite pine needles [7]. However, in case of Tunguska the only proof for the bolide starting the fire comes from an eyewitness description collected many years after the event. Some authors [8] suggest that this fire might have been caused "normaly" later during the same year, induced on dead trees killed by the Tunguska fall. More recently it was observed that the Chelyabinsk meteor [9] - smaller than Tunguska event - did not produced a fire. In order to explore this apparent relationship in more detail, we have studied the proximal ejecta from a 100-m in diameter, ~3500 years old [10] Kaali crater (Estonia) within which we find pieces of charred organic material. Those pieces appear to have been produced during the impact, according to their stratigraphic location and following 14C analysis [19] as opposed to pre- or post-impact forest fires. In order to determine the most probable formation mechanism of the charred organic material found within Kaali proximal ejecta blanket, we: 1) Analyzed charcoal under SEM to identify the charred plants and determine properties of the charcoal related to the temperature of its formation [11]. Detected homogenization of cell walls suggests that at least some pieces of charcoal were formed at >300 °C [11]. 2) Analyzed the reflectance properties of the charred particles in order to determine the intensity with which

  5. Overview of the Atmosphere and Environment within Gale Crater on Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vasavada, A. R.; Grotzinger, J. P.; Crisp, J. A.; Gomez-Elvira, J.; Mahaffy, P. R.; Webster, C. R.

    2012-12-01

    Curiosity's mission at Gale Crater places a number of highly capable atmospheric and environmental sensors within a dynamic setting: next to a 5-km mountain within a 150-km diameter impact crater whose floor is -4.5 km. Curiosity's scientific payload was chosen primarily to allow a geologic and geochemical investigation of Mars' environmental history and habitability, as preserved in the layered sediments on the crater floor and mound. Atmospheric and environmental sensors will contribute by measuring the bulk atmospheric chemical and isotopic composition, the flux of high-energy particle and ultraviolet radiation after modification by the atmosphere, and modern processes related to meteorology and climate over at least one Mars year. The Sample Analysis at Mars instrument will analyze the atmosphere with its mass spectrometer and tunable laser spectrometer. The former is capable of providing bulk composition and isotopic ratios of relevance to planetary evolution, such as nitrogen and noble gases. The latter is designed to acquire high-precision measurements of atmospheric species including CH4, CO2, and H2O, and key isotope ratios in H, C, and O. An important goal will be to compare CH4 abundance and time variability over the mission with the reported detections from the Mars Express orbiter and ground-based observations. The Radiation Assessment Detector (RAD) measures a broad spectrum of high-energy radiation incident at the surface, including secondary particles created via interactions of galactic cosmic rays and solar protons with Mars' atmospheric constituents. Curiosity's Rover Environmental Monitoring Station (REMS) carries six ultraviolet sensors, spanning 200-380 nm. For the first time, both the high-energy and ultraviolet radiation measured at the surface can be compared with measurements above the atmosphere, acquired by other platforms. Modern meteorology and the climatology of dust and water will be studied using the rover's cameras and REMS

  6. Virtual Astronaut for Scientific Visualization—A Prototype for Santa Maria Crater on Mars

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Edward A. Guinness

    2012-12-01

    Full Text Available To support scientific visualization of multiple-mission data from Mars, the Virtual Astronaut (VA creates an interactive virtual 3D environment built on the Unity3D Game Engine. A prototype study was conducted based on orbital and Opportunity Rover data covering Santa Maria Crater in Meridiani Planum on Mars. The VA at Santa Maria provides dynamic visual representations of the imaging, compositional, and mineralogical information. The VA lets one navigate through the scene and provides geomorphic and geologic contexts for the rover operations. User interactions include in-situ observations visualization, feature measurement, and an animation control of rover drives. This paper covers our approach and implementation of the VA system. A brief summary of the prototype system functions and user feedback is also covered. Based on external review and comments by the science community, the prototype at Santa Maria has proven the VA to be an effective tool for virtual geovisual analysis.

  7. Confidence Hills Mineralogy and Chemin Results from Base of Mt. Sharp, Pahrump Hills, Gale Crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cavanagh, P. D.; Bish, D. L.; Blake, D. F.; Vaniman, D. T.; Morris, R. V.; Ming, D. W.; Rampe, E. B.; Achilles, C. N.; Chipera, S. J.; Treiman, A. H.; hide

    2015-01-01

    The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) rover Curiosity recently completed its fourth drill sampling of sediments on Mars. The Confidence Hills (CH) sample was drilled from a rock located in the Pahrump Hills region at the base of Mt. Sharp in Gale Crater. The CheMin X-ray diffractometer completed five nights of analysis on the sample, more than previously executed for a drill sample, and the data have been analyzed using Rietveld refinement and full-pattern fitting to determine quantitative mineralogy. Confidence Hills mineralogy has several important characteristics: 1) abundant hematite and lesser magnetite; 2) a 10 angstrom phyllosilicate; 3) multiple feldspars including plagioclase and alkali feldspar; 4) mafic silicates including forsterite, orthopyroxene, and two types of clinopyroxene (Ca-rich and Ca-poor), consistent with a basaltic source; and 5) minor contributions from sulfur-bearing species including jarosite.

  8. Noachian Impact Ejecta on Murray Ridge and Pre-impact Rocks on Wdowiak Ridge, Endeavour Crater, Mars: Opportunity Observations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mittlefehldt, D. W.; Gellert, R.; Ming, D. W.; Morris, R. V.; Schroeder, C.; Yen, A. S.; Farrand, W. H.; Arvidson, R. E.; Franklin, B. J.; Grant, J. A.; hide

    2015-01-01

    Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity has been exploring Meridiani Planum since January 2004, and has completed 4227% of its primary mission. Opportunity has been investigating the geology of the rim of 22 km diameter Endeavour crater, first on the Cape York segment and now on Cape Tribulation. The outcrops are divided York; (ii) the Shoemaker fm, impact breccias representing ejecta from the crater; into three formations: (i) the lower Matijevic fm, a pre-impact lithology on Cape and (iii) the upper Grasberg fm, a post-impact deposit that drapes the lower portions of the eroded rim segments. On the Cape Tribulation segment Opportunity has been studying the rocks on Murray Ridge, with a brief sojourn to Wdowiak Ridge west of the rim segment. team member Thomas Wdowiak, who died in 2013.) One region of Murray Ridge has distinctive CRISM spectral characteristics indicating the presence of a small concentration of aluminous smectite based on a 2.2 micron Al-OH combination band (hereafter, the Al-OH region).

  9. The sedimentology and dynamics of crater-affiliated wind streaks in western Arabia Terra, Mars and Patagonia, Argentina

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rodriguez, J.A.P.; Tanaka, K.L.; Yamamoto, A.; Berman, D.C.; Zimbelman, J.R.; Kargel, J.S.; Sasaki, S.; Jinguo, Y.; Miyamoto, H.

    2010-01-01

    Wind streaks comprise recent aeolian deposits that have been extensively documented on Venus, Earth and Mars. Martian wind streaks are among the most abundant surface features on the planet and commonly extend from the downwind margins of impact craters. Previous studies of wind streaks emerging from crater interior deposits suggested that the mode of emplacement was primarily related to the deposition of silt-sized particles as these settled from plumes. We have performed geologic investigations of two wind streaks clusters; one situated in western Arabia Terra, a region in the northern hemisphere of Mars, and another in an analogous terrestrial site located in southern Patagonia, Argentina, where occurrences of wind streaks emanate from playas within maar craters. In both these regions we have identified bedforms in sedimentary deposits on crater floors, along wind-facing interior crater margins, and along wind streaks. These observations indicate that these deposits contain sand-sized particles and that sediment migration has occurred via saltation from crater interior deposits to wind streaks. In Arabia Terra and in Patagonia wind streaks initiate from crater floors that contain lithic and evaporitic sedimentary deposits, suggesting that the composition of wind streak source materials has played an important role in development. Spatial and topographic analyses suggest that regional clustering of wind streaks in the studied regions directly correlates to the areal density of craters with interior deposits, the degree of proximity of these deposits, and the craters' rim-to-floor depths. In addition, some (but not all) wind streaks within the studied clusters have propagated at comparable yearly (Earth years) rates. Extensive saltation is inferred to have been involved in its propagation based on the studied terrestrial wind streak that shows ripples and dunes on its surface and the Martian counterpart changes orientation toward the downslope direction where it

  10. Ganymede and Callisto - Complex crater formation and planetary crusts

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schenk, Paul M.

    1991-01-01

    Results are presented on measurements of crater depths and other morphological parameters (such as central peak and terrace frequency) of fresh craters on Ganymede and Callisto, two geophysically very similar but geologically divergent large icy satellites of Jupiter. These data were used to investigate the crater mechanics on icy satellites and the intersatellite crater scaling and crustal properties. The morphological transition diameters of and complex crater depths on Ganymede and Callisto were found to be similar, indicating that the crusts of both satellites are dominated by water ice with only a minor rocky component.

  11. Small crater modification on Meridiani Planum and implications for erosion rates and climate change on Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Golombek, M.P.; Warner, N.H.; Ganti, V.; Lamb, M.P.; Parker, T.J.; Fergason, Robin L.; Sullivan, R.

    2014-01-01

    A morphometric and morphologic catalog of ~100 small craters imaged by the Opportunity rover over the 33.5 km traverse between Eagle and Endeavour craters on Meridiani Planum shows craters in six stages of degradation that range from fresh and blocky to eroded and shallow depressions ringed by planed off rim blocks. The age of each morphologic class from Mars over ~100 Myr and 3 Gyr timescales from the Amazonian and Hesperian are of order <0.01 m/Myr, which is 3–4 orders of magnitude slower than typical terrestrial rates. Erosion rates during the Middle-Late Noachian averaged over ~250 Myr, and ~700 Myr intervals are around 1 m/Myr, comparable to slow terrestrial erosion rates calculated over similar timescales. This argues for a wet climate before ~3 Ga in which liquid water was the erosional agent, followed by a dry environment dominated by slow eolian erosion.

  12. Key Recent Scientific Results from the Opportunity Rover's Exploration of Cape Tribulation, Endeavour Crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Arvidson, R. E.; Squyres, S. W.; Gellert, R.; Herkenhoff, K. E.; Mittlefehldt, D. W.; Crumpler, L. S.; McLennan, S. M.; Farrand, W. H.; Jolliff, B. L.; Morris, R. V.

    2015-12-01

    The Opportunity Rover is in its 11th year of exploration, currently exploring the Cape Tribulation rim segment of the ~22 km wide Noachian Endeavour Crater and its tilted and fractured outcrops. A key target for Opportunity's measurements has been the Spirit of Saint Louis crater (SoSL), which is ~25 m wide, oval in plan view, shallow, flat-floored, and has a slightly raised rim. SoSL crater is surrounded by an apron of bright, polygonally-shaped outcrops and is superimposed on a gentle swale in Cape Tribulation. Rocks in a thin reddish zone on the rim are enriched in hematite, Si, and Ge, and depleted in Fe, relative to surrounding rocks. Apron rocks include an outcrop also enriched in Si and Ge, and slightly depleted in Fe. In general rocks in the crater and apron have elevated S levels relative to Shoemaker formation breccias, tracking values observed in the Cook Haven (gentle swale superimposed on Murray Ridge and site of Opportunity's 5th winter site) and the Hueytown fracture (running perpendicular to Cape Tribulation) outcrops. SoSL crater lies just to the west of Marathon Valley, a key target for exploration by Opportunity because five separate CRISM observations indicate the presence of Fe/Mg smectites on the upper valley floor. Opportunity data show that low relief, relatively bright, wind-scoured outcrops dominate the valley floor where not covered by scree and soil shed from surrounding walls. Initial reconnaissance shows that the outcrops are breccias with compositions similar to the typical SoSL crater apron and floor rocks, although only the very upper portion of the valley has been explored as of August 2015. Pervasive but modest aqueous alteration of Endeavour's rim is implied by the combination of CRISM and Opportunity data, providing insight into early aqueous processes dominated in this location by relatively low water to rock ratios, and at least in part associated with enhanced fluid flow along fractures.

  13. A novel thermo-hydraulic coupling model to investigate the crater formation in electrical discharge machining

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tang, Jiajing; Yang, Xiaodong

    2017-09-01

    A novel thermo-hydraulic coupling model was proposed in this study to investigate the crater formation in electrical discharge machining (EDM). The temperature distribution of workpiece materials was included, and the crater formation process was explained from the perspective of hydrodynamic characteristics of the molten region. To better track the morphology of the crater and the movement of debris, the level-set method was introduced in this study. Simulation results showed that the crater appears shortly after the ignition of the discharge, and the molten material is removed by vaporizing in the initial stage, then by splashing at the following time. The driving force for the detachment of debris in the splashing removal stage comes from the extremely large pressure difference in the upper part of the molten region, and the morphology of the crater is also influenced by the shearing flow of molten material. It was found that the removal ratio of molten material is only about 7.63% under the studied conditions, leaving most to form the re-solidification layer on the surface of the crater. The size of the crater reaches the maximum at the end of discharge duration then experiences a slight reduction because of the reflux of molten material after the discharge. The results of single pulse discharge experiments showed that the morphologies and sizes between the simulation crater and actual crater are good at agreement, verifying the feasibility of the proposed thermo-hydraulic coupling model in explaining the mechanisms of crater formation in EDM.

  14. Pervasive aeolian activity along Curiosity's traverse in Gale Crater on Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Silvestro, S.; Vaz, D.; Ewing, R. C.; Rossi, A.; Flahaut, J.; Fenton, L. K.; Geissler, P. E.; Michaels, T. I.

    2012-12-01

    The NASA Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) has safely landed in Gale Crater (Mars). This crater has been severely modified by the action of the wind which has led to the development of several dark dune fields. One of these fields crosses the landing ellipse from the NE to the SW, and despite its fresh appearance, no evidence of sand movement has been detected until recently. Here we present evidence of current aeolian activity in the form of ripple and dune migration close to the expected traverse of the MSL rover, Curiosity. We calculate a minimum ripple displacement of 1.16 m and a dune migration rate of 0.4 meters/Earth year. Both ripples and dunes migrated toward the SW, suggesting winds above the saltation threshold from the NE. Such winds are predicted by the MRAMS atmospheric model (Fig. 1). The dunes are undergoing changes on a timescale of weeks to a few years that should be detectable by rover instruments. Using theoretical and experimental considerations, we calculate a wind gust velocity of 35 m/s at 1.5 m of height. In addition, we estimate that saltating grains would reach a distance of ~27 m and extend a maximum height of 2 m above the surface. Our constraints on the wind regime provide a unique opportunity to use ground measurements from MSL to test the accuracy of winds predicted from orbital data.RAMS modeled winds in the MSL landing site

  15. ChemCam activities and discoveries during the nominal mission of the Mars Science Laboratory in Gale crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Maurice, Sylvestre; Clegg, Samuel M.; Wiens, Roger C.; Gasnault, O.; Rapin, W.; Forni, O.; Cousin, Agnes; Sautter, V.; Mangold, Nicolas; Le Deit, L.; Nachon, Marion; Anderson, Ryan; Lanza, Nina; Fabre, Cecile; Payre, Valerie; Lasue, Jeremie; Meslin, Pierre-Yves; LeVeille, Richard A.; Barraclough, Bruce; Beck, Pierre; Bender, Steven C.; Berger, Gilles; Bridges, John C.; Bridges, Nathan; Dromert, Gilles; Dyar, M. Darby; Francis, Raymond; Frydenvang, Jens; Gondet, B.; Ehlmann, Bethany L.; Herkenhoff, Kenneth E.; Johnson, Jeffrey R.; Langevin, Yves; Madsen Morten B.,; Melikechi, N.; Lacour, J.-L.; Le Mouelic, Stephane; Lewin, Eric; Newsom, Horton E.; Ollila, Ann M.; Pinet, Patrick; Schroder, S.; Sirven, Jean-Baptiste; Tokar, Robert L.; Toplis, M.J.; d'Uston, Claude; Vaniman, David; Vasavada, Ashwin R.

    2016-01-01

    At Gale crater, Mars, ChemCam acquired its first laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) target on Sol 13 of the landed portion of the mission (a Sol is a Mars day). Up to Sol 800, more than 188000 LIBS spectra were acquired on more than 5800 points distributed over about 650 individual targets. We present a comprehensive review of ChemCam scientific accomplishments during that period, together with a focus on the lessons learned from the first use of LIBS in space. For data processing, we describe new tools that had to be developed to account for the uniqueness of Mars data. With regard to chemistry, we present a summary of the composition range measured on Mars for major-element oxides (SiO2, TiO2, Al2O3, FeOT, MgO, CaO, Na2O, K2O) based on various multivariate models, with associated precisions. ChemCam also observed H, and the non-metallic elements C, O, P, and S, which are usually difficult to quantify with LIBS. F and Cl are observed through their molecular lines. We discuss the most relevant LIBS lines for detection of minor and trace elements (Li, Rb, Sr, Ba, Cr, Mn, Ni, and Zn). These results were obtained thanks to comprehensive ground reference datasets, which are set to mimic the expected mineralogy and chemistry on Mars. With regard to the first use of LIBS in space, we analyze and quantify, often for the first time, each of the advantages of using stand-off LIBS in space: no sample preparation, analysis within its petrological context, dust removal, sub-millimeter scale investigation, multi-point analysis, the ability to carry out statistical surveys and whole-rock analyses, and rapid data acquisition. We conclude with a discussion of ChemCam performance to survey the geochemistry of Mars, and its valuable support of decisions about selecting where and whether to make observations with more time and resource-intensive tools in the rover's instrument suite. In the end, we present a bird's-eye view of the many scientific results: discovery of felsic

  16. The Mineralogical and Chemical Case for Habitability at Yellowknife Bay, Gale Crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Blake, David Frederick; Vaniman, David; Grotzinger, John P.; Conrad, Pamela Gales; Ming, Douglas W.; Bish, David L.; Farmer, Jack D.; Bristow, Thomas

    2013-01-01

    Sediments of the Yellowknife Bay formation (Gale crater) include the Sheepbed member, a mudstone cut by light-toned veins. Two drill samples, John Klein and Cumberland, were collected and analyzed by the CheMin XRD/XRF instrument and the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) evolved gas and isotopic analysis suite of instruments. Drill cuttings were also analyzed by the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) for bulk composition. The CheMin XRD analysis shows that the mudstone contains basaltic minerals (Fe-forsterite, augite, pigeonite, plagioclase), as well as Fe-oxide/hydroxides, Fe-sulfides, amorphous materials, and trioctahedral phyllosilicates. SAM evolved gas analysis of higher-temperature OH matches the CheMin XRD estimate of 20% clay minerals in the mudstone. The light-toned veins contain Ca-sulfates; anhydrite and bassanite are detected by XRD but gypsum is also indicated from Mastcam spectral mapping. These sulfates appear to be almost entirely restricted to late-diagenetic veins. The sulfate content of the mudstone matrix itself is lower than other sediments analyzed on Mars. The presence of phyllosilicates indicates that the activity of water was high during their formation and/or transport and deposition (should they have been detrital). Lack of chlorite places limits on the maximum temperature of alteration (likely chemical disequilibria that could have been utilized by chemolithoautotrophic biota, if present. When compared to the nearby Rocknest sand shadow mineralogy or the normative mineralogy of Martian soil, both John Klein and Cumberland exhibit a near-absence of olivine and a surplus of magnetite (7-9% of the crystalline component). The magnetite is interpreted as an authigenic product formed when olivine was altered to phyllosilicate. Saponitization of olivine (a process analogous to serpentinization) could have produced H2 in situ. Indeed, early diagenetic hollow nodules ("minibowls") present in the Cumberland mudstone are interpreted by some as

  17. Discovery and Distribution of Chloride-Bearing Deposits in the Ancient Cratered Terrain of Mars From THEMIS

    Science.gov (United States)

    Osterloo, M. M.; Anderson, F. S.; Hamilton, V. E.; Glotch, T. D.; Baldridge, A. M.; Christensen, P. R.; Bandfield, J. L.; Tornabene, L. L.

    2007-12-01

    We have identified and mapped a number of spectrally distinct deposits (~250) in mid-infrared data acquired by the 2001 Odyssey Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS). These deposits are interpreted to contain a chloride salt component based on their spectral signatures in THEMIS and Mars Global Surveyor Thermal Emission Spectrometer (TES) data. Thermal inertia derived from THEMIS nighttime observations, indicate that the chloride-bearing materials are possibly cemented or indurated. Individually, most chloride-bearing deposits are small in area (floors. Images acquired by the Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) and the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) indicate geomorphology consistent with formation in an evaporitic environment. HiRISE imagery (at 25.3 cm/pixel) over a large exposure in Terra Sirenum shows the chloride-bearing materials to be light-toned and highly fractured. The fracturing is sub-polygonal and is similar to desiccation cracks in evaporitic environments. Cross cutting relationships indicate that the chloride-bearing materials are older than the surrounding basaltic materials, and commonly appear to have been exposed by erosion. In the HiRISE image we observe additional occurrences of chloride materials within the regional terrain, indicating that the chloride deposits are likely more extensive than what is discernable at THEMIS IR scales. The origin and diagenesis of each chloride deposit is likely complex, however it is probable that water played a role in each instance, either via direct precipitation of ground water or standing water, or via efflorescence from evaporative pumping, volcanic out gassing, or atmospheric-surface interactions. Many chloride salts are extremely hygroscopic and can be further modified by fluctuations in humidity. Identification of a hygroscopic chloride could indicate brine activity subsequent to initial deposition. The identification of another water-related material in the ancient cratered terrain of Mars

  18. Radar Investigation of the Northeast Syrtis and Jezero Crater Mars2020 Landing Sites

    Science.gov (United States)

    Carter, L. M.; Morgan, G.; Putzig, N. E.

    2017-12-01

    Two of the potential Mars2020 landing sites, Northeast Syrtis and Jezero Crater, have not been previously studied using radar data as they were not part of the Curiosity landing site selection process or the site of a previous landing. Radar can penetrate into the surface and reveal subsurface structures, and radar reflectivity is sensitive to roughness on the wavelength scale. In the past, radar data from the 20 MHz Shallow Radar (SHARAD) instrument on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter have been used to search for evidence of subsurface layering and to assess geology at potential landing sites (e.g. Putzig et al. 2014, JGR, 119, 1936). Over the past two years, we have acquired new SHARAD data of the Northeast Syrtis and Jezero sites that allow us to 1) search for subsurface interfaces that could possibly be detected by the RIMFAX ground penetrating radar instrument on Mars2020, 2) assess the surface roughness and density of the upper layers, and 3) compare with other data sets to place constraints on the upper structure and properties of the landing site and surrounding areas. Both landing site study areas are 50x50 km boxes and currently have 15-18 tracks each when counting both night and daytime observations. Both of the landing sites present challenges for SHARAD analysis due to their topography, and to date we have not found evidence of subsurface reflectors at either site, despite acquiring higher signal-to-noise "rolled spacecraft" observations. The hundreds-of-meter wide mesas within and around the Northeast Syrtis site and the walls of Jezero crater may produce off-nadir reflections (clutter) that mask any detection of layering. It is also possible that subsurface interfaces visible at SHARAD's vertical resolution do not have significant dielectric contrast to be detected. We will present the latest SHARAD observations, including new maps of the derived surface roughness, and discuss possible implications for the geology of these two landing sites.

  19. Exhumed Craters

    Science.gov (United States)

    2004-01-01

    5 July 2004 Burial and exhumation is a theme that repeats itself, all over the surface of Mars. This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image shows several north mid-latitude meteor impact craters with bouldery ejecta deposits. Each of the craters was once buried and later exhumed. Mesas on the floors of these craters are remnants of the materials that once filled and covered them. The craters are located near 39.7oN, 206.0oW. The image covers an area about 3 km (1.9 mi) wide; sunlight illuminates the scene from the lower left.

  20. Geomorphic record of Noachian, Hesperian and Amazonian materials and deposits preserved within Asimov Crater, Mars: A cross-sectional view of the role of volatiles through martian history

    Science.gov (United States)

    Morgan, G. A.; Head, J. W.; Marchant, D. R.

    2010-12-01

    We describe the geomorphic record preserved within the highly degraded 80 km diameter Asimov impact crater located within Noachis Terra. The crater has been significantly in-filled since its formation in the Noachian, presumably by sedimentary materials similar to units identified elsewhere in Noachian aged craters. In this case the fill is unusual in that there is an annulus of disconnected valleys adjacent to the interior flanks of the crater wall. High-resolution images reveal that Hesperian-aged layered basalt with distinctive columnar jointing caps the interior crater fill and provides a source of debris that via mass wasting, accumulates in the surrounding annular valleys. Models for the formation of the valleys need to account for the removal of large volumes of crater fill material from below the basaltic cap. One distinct possibility is that the fill material originally contained high proportions of volatiles that have since been lost to the atmosphere. We explore this model and others and investigate the surrounding regions to place further constraints on valley formation. The occurrence of steep slopes (>20 °), relatively narrow (sheltered) valleys, and a source of debris have provided favorable conditions for the preservation of late Amazonian shallow-ice deposits. Detailed mapping reveals morphological evidence for viscous ice flow, in the form of several lobate debris tongues (LDT). Superimposed on LDT are a series of fresh-appearing gullies, with typical alcove, channel, and fan morphologies. The shift from ice-rich viscous-flow formation to gully erosion is best explained as a shift in martian climate, from one compatible with excess snowfall and flow of ice-rich deposits, to one consistent with minor snowfall and gully formation. Available dating suggests that the climate transition occurred >8 Ma, prior to the formation of other small-scale ice-rich flow features identified elsewhere on Mars that have been interpreted to have formed during the

  1. Tactile Earth and Space Science Materials for Students with Visual Impairments: Contours, Craters, Asteroids, and Features of Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rule, Audrey C.

    2011-01-01

    New tactile curriculum materials for teaching Earth and planetary science lessons on rotation=revolution, silhouettes of objects from different views, contour maps, impact craters, asteroids, and topographic features of Mars to 11 elementary and middle school students with sight impairments at a week-long residential summer camp are presented…

  2. Lonely Crater

    Science.gov (United States)

    2005-01-01

    24 December 2005 This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image shows a full-resolution (1.5 meters/5 feet per pixel) view of an old meteor impact crater, somewhat filled with sediment. This crater is located near a larger crater, Newcomb, in far northern Noachis Terra. Location near: 22.1oS, 1.1oW Image width: 1 km (0.6 mi) Illumination from: upper left Season: Southern Spring

  3. Key Recent Scientific Results from the Opportunity Rover's Exploration of Endeavour Crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Arvidson, R. E.; Squyres, S. W.; Gellert, R.; Herkenhoff, K.; Mittlefehldt, D.; Crumpler, L.; McLennan, S.; Farrand, W. H.; Joliff, B. L.; Morris, R. V.

    2015-01-01

    The Opportunity Rover is currently in its 11th year of operations, exploring the rim of the approximately 22 km wide Noachian-age Endeavour Crater. Opportunity spent its 5th winter season in Cook Haven, a gentle swale along Murray Ridge. Two small rocks serendipitously overturned by rover wheel motions show evidence for aqueous precipitation of sulfates, and interaction with a strong oxidant (e.g., O2) to form a thin, high valence state Mn oxide coating. After the winter, Opportunity headed south to Cape Tribulation and explored Shoemaker formation impact breccias, finding numerous Ca-sulfate veins cutting across outcrops. A key target for Opportunity's measurements has been the Spirit of Saint Louis crater (SoSL), which is approximately 25 m wide, oval in plan view, shallow, flat-floored, and has a slightly raised rim. SoSL crater is surrounded by an apron of bright, polygonally-shaped outcrops and is superimposed on a gentle swale in Cape Tribulation. Rocks in a thin reddish zone on the rim are enriched in hematite, Si, and Ge, and depleted in Fe, relative to surrounding rocks. Apron rocks include an outcrop also enriched in Si and Ge, and slightly depleted in Fe. In general rocks in the crater and apron have elevated S relative to Shoemaker formation breccias, tracking values observed in the Cook Haven and the Hueytown (fracture running perpendicular to Cape Tribulation) outcrops. SoSL crater lies just to the west of Marathon Valley, a key target for exploration by Opportunity because five separate CRISM observations indicate the presence of Fe/Mg smectites on the upper valley floor. Opportunity data show that low relief, relatively bright polygonal outcrops dominate the valley floor where not covered by scree and soil shed from surrounding walls. Initial reconnaissance shows that the outcrops are breccias with compositions similar to the typical SoSL crater apron and floor rocks, although only the very upper portion of the valley has been explored as of August

  4. Opportunity Mars Rover mission: Overview and selected results from Purgatory ripple to traverses to Endeavour crater

    Science.gov (United States)

    Arvidson, R. E.; Ashley, James W.; Bell, J.F.; Chojnacki, M.; Cohen, J.; Economou, T.E.; Farrand, W. H.; Fergason, R.; Fleischer, I.; Geissler, P.; Gellert, Ralf; Golombek, M.P.; Grotzinger, J.P.; Guinness, E.A.; Haberle, R.M.; Herkenhoff, K. E.; Herman, J.A.; Iagnemma, K.D.; Jolliff, B.L.; Johnson, J. R.; Klingelhofer, G.; Knoll, A.H.; Knudson, A.T.; Li, R.; McLennan, S.M.; Mittlefehldt, D. W.; Morris, R.V.; Parker, T.J.; Rice, M.S.; Schroder, C.; Soderblom, L.A.; Squyres, S. W.; Sullivan, R.J.; Wolff, M.J.

    2011-01-01

    Opportunity has been traversing the Meridiani plains since 25 January 2004 (sol 1), acquiring numerous observations of the atmosphere, soils, and rocks. This paper provides an overview of key discoveries between sols 511 and 2300, complementing earlier papers covering results from the initial phases of the mission. Key new results include (1) atmospheric argon measurements that demonstrate the importance of atmospheric transport to and from the winter carbon dioxide polar ice caps; (2) observations showing that aeolian ripples covering the plains were generated by easterly winds during an epoch with enhanced Hadley cell circulation; (3) the discovery and characterization of cobbles and boulders that include iron and stony-iron meteorites and Martian impact ejecta; (4) measurements of wall rock strata within Erebus and Victoria craters that provide compelling evidence of formation by aeolian sand deposition, with local reworking within ephemeral lakes; (5) determination that the stratigraphy exposed in the walls of Victoria and Endurance craters show an enrichment of chlorine and depletion of magnesium and sulfur with increasing depth. This result implies that regional-scale aqueous alteration took place before formation of these craters. Most recently, Opportunity has been traversing toward the ancient Endeavour crater. Orbital data show that clay minerals are exposed on its rim. Hydrated sulfate minerals are exposed in plains rocks adjacent to the rim, unlike the surfaces of plains outcrops observed thus far by Opportunity. With continued mechanical health, Opportunity will reach terrains on and around Endeavour's rim that will be markedly different from anything examined to date. Copyright 2011 by the American Geophysical Union.

  5. Oxidation Of Manganese At Kimberley, Gale Crater: More Free Oxygen In Mars' Past?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lanza, N. L.; Wiens, R. C.; Arvidson, R. E.; Clark, B. C.; Fischer, W. W.; Gellert, R.; Grotzinger, J. P.; Hurowitz, J. A.; McLennan, S. M.; Morris, R. V.; hide

    2015-01-01

    High Mn concentrations provide unique indicators of water-rich environments and their redox state. Very high-potential oxidants are required to oxidize Mn to insoluble, high-valence oxides that can precipitate and concentrate Mn in rocks and sediments; these redox potentials are much higher than those needed to oxidize Fe or S. Consequently, Mn-rich rocks on Earth closely track the rise of atmospheric oxygen. Given the association between Mn-rich rocks and the redox state of surface environments, observations of anomalous Mn enrichments on Mars raise similar questions about redox history, solubility and aqueous transport, and availability as a metabolic substrate. Our observations suggest that at least some of the high Mn present in Gale crater occurs in the form of Mn-oxides filling veins that crosscut sand-stones, requiring post-depositional precipitation as highly oxidizing fluids moved through the fractured strata after their deposition and lithification.

  6. Volatile and Organic Compositions of Sedimentary Rocks in Yellowknife Bay, Gale Crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ming, D. W.; Archer, P. D.; Glavin, D. P.; Eigenbrode, J. L.; Franz, H. B.; Sutter, B.; Brunner, A. E.; Stern, J. C.; Freissinet, C.; McAdam, A. C.; Mahaffy, P. R.; Cabane, M.; Coll, P.; Campbell, J. L.; Atreya, S. K.; Niles, P. B.; Bell, J. F.; Bish, D. L.; Brinckerhoff, W. B.; Buch, A.; Conrad, P. G.; Des Marais, D. J.; Ehlmann, B. L.; Fairén, A. G.; Farley, K.; Flesch, G. J.; Francois, P.; Gellert, R.; Grant, J. A.; Grotzinger, J. P.; Gupta, S.; Herkenhoff, K. E.; Hurowitz, J. A.; Leshin, L. A.; Lewis, K. W.; McLennan, S. M.; Miller, K. E.; Moersch, J.; Morris, R. V.; Navarro-González, R.; Pavlov, A. A.; Perrett, G. M.; Pradler, I.; Squyres, S. W.; Summons, R. E.; Steele, A.; Stolper, E. M.; Sumner, D. Y.; Szopa, C.; Teinturier, S.; Trainer, M. G.; Treiman, A. H.; Vaniman, D. T.; Vasavada, A. R.; Webster, C. R.; Wray, J. J.; Yingst, R. A.; Kemppinen, Osku; Bridges, Nathan; Johnson, Jeffrey R.; Minitti, Michelle; Cremers, David; Edgar, Lauren; Farmer, Jack; Godber, Austin; Wadhwa, Meenakshi; Wellington, Danika; McEwan, Ian; Newman, Claire; Richardson, Mark; Charpentier, Antoine; Peret, Laurent; King, Penelope; Blank, Jennifer; Weigle, Gerald; Schmidt, Mariek; Li, Shuai; Milliken, Ralph; Robertson, Kevin; Sun, Vivian; Baker, Michael; Edwards, Christopher; Ehlmann, Bethany; Griffes, Jennifer; Newcombe, Megan; Pilorget, Cedric; Rice, Melissa; Siebach, Kirsten; Stack, Katie; Brunet, Claude; Hipkin, Victoria; Léveillé, Richard; Marchand, Geneviève; Sánchez, Pablo Sobrón; Favot, Laurent; Cody, George; Flückiger, Lorenzo; Lees, David; Nefian, Ara; Martin, Mildred; Gailhanou, Marc; Westall, Frances; Israël, Guy; Agard, Christophe; Baroukh, Julien; Donny, Christophe; Gaboriaud, Alain; Guillemot, Philippe; Lafaille, Vivian; Lorigny, Eric; Paillet, Alexis; Pérez, René; Saccoccio, Muriel; Yana, Charles; Armiens-Aparicio, Carlos; Rodríguez, Javier Caride; Blázquez, Isaías Carrasco; Gómez, Felipe Gómez; Gómez-Elvira, Javier; Hettrich, Sebastian; Malvitte, Alain Lepinette; Jiménez, Mercedes Marín; Martínez-Frías, Jesús; Martín-Soler, Javier; Martín-Torres, F. Javier; Jurado, Antonio Molina; Mora-Sotomayor, Luis; Caro, Guillermo Muñoz; López, Sara Navarro; Peinado-González, Verónica; Pla-García, Jorge; Manfredi, José Antonio Rodriguez; Romeral-Planelló, Julio José; Fuentes, Sara Alejandra Sans; Martinez, Eduardo Sebastian; Redondo, Josefina Torres; Urqui-O'Callaghan, Roser; Mier, María-Paz Zorzano; Chipera, Steve; Lacour, Jean-Luc; Mauchien, Patrick; Sirven, Jean-Baptiste; Manning, Heidi; Hayes, Alexander; Joseph, Jonathan; Sullivan, Robert; Thomas, Peter; Dupont, Audrey; Lundberg, Angela; Melikechi, Noureddine; Mezzacappa, Alissa; DeMarines, Julia; Grinspoon, David; Reitz, Günther; Prats, Benito; Atlaskin, Evgeny; Genzer, Maria; Harri, Ari-Matti; Haukka, Harri; Kahanpää, Henrik; Kauhanen, Janne; Kemppinen, Osku; Paton, Mark; Polkko, Jouni; Schmidt, Walter; Siili, Tero; Fabre, Cécile; Wilhelm, Mary Beth; Poitrasson, Franck; Patel, Kiran; Gorevan, Stephen; Indyk, Stephen; Paulsen, Gale; Schieber, Juergen; Gondet, Brigitte; Langevin, Yves; Geffroy, Claude; Baratoux, David; Berger, Gilles; Cros, Alain; d'Uston, Claude; Forni, Olivier; Gasnault, Olivier; Lasue, Jérémie; Lee, Qiu-Mei; Maurice, Sylvestre; Meslin, Pierre-Yves; Pallier, Etienne; Parot, Yann; Pinet, Patrick; Schröder, Susanne; Toplis, Mike; Lewin, Éric; Brunner, Will; Heydari, Ezat; Achilles, Cherie; Oehler, Dorothy; Coscia, David; Israël, Guy; Dromart, Gilles; Robert, François; Sautter, Violaine; Le Mouélic, Stéphane; Mangold, Nicolas; Nachon, Marion; Stalport, Fabien; Raulin, François; Cameron, James; Clegg, Sam; Cousin, Agnès; DeLapp, Dorothea; Dingler, Robert; Jackson, Ryan Steele; Johnstone, Stephen; Lanza, Nina; Little, Cynthia; Nelson, Tony; Wiens, Roger C.; Williams, Richard B.; Jones, Andrea; Kirkland, Laurel; Baker, Burt; Cantor, Bruce; Caplinger, Michael; Davis, Scott; Duston, Brian; Edgett, Kenneth; Fay, Donald; Hardgrove, Craig; Harker, David; Herrera, Paul; Jensen, Elsa; Kennedy, Megan R.; Krezoski, Gillian; Krysak, Daniel; Lipkaman, Leslie; Malin, Michael; McCartney, Elaina; McNair, Sean; Nixon, Brian; Posiolova, Liliya; Ravine, Michael; Salamon, Andrew; Saper, Lee; Stoiber, Kevin; Supulver, Kimberley; Van Beek, Jason; Van Beek, Tessa; Zimdar, Robert; French, Katherine Louise; Iagnemma, Karl; Miller, Kristen; Goesmann, Fred; Goetz, Walter; Hviid, Stubbe; Johnson, Micah; Lefavor, Matthew; Lyness, Eric; Breves, Elly; Dyar, M. Darby; Fassett, Caleb; Blake, David F.; Bristow, Thomas; Edwards, Laurence; Haberle, Robert; Hoehler, Tori; Hollingsworth, Jeff; Kahre, Melinda; Keely, Leslie; McKay, Christopher; Wilhelm, Mary Beth; Bleacher, Lora; Choi, David; Dworkin, Jason P.; Floyd, Melissa; Garvin, James; Harpold, Daniel; Jones, Andrea; Martin, David K.; Raaen, Eric; Smith, Michael D.; Tan, Florence; Meyer, Michael; Posner, Arik; Voytek, Mary; Anderson, Robert C.; Aubrey, Andrew; Beegle, Luther W.; Behar, Alberto; Blaney, Diana; Brinza, David; Calef, Fred; Christensen, Lance; Crisp, Joy A.; DeFlores, Lauren; Feldman, Jason; Feldman, Sabrina; Jun, Insoo; Keymeulen, Didier; Maki, Justin; Mischna, Michael; Morookian, John Michael; Parker, Timothy; Pavri, Betina; Schoppers, Marcel; Sengstacken, Aaron; Simmonds, John J.; Spanovich, Nicole; Juarez, Manuel de la Torre; Yen, Albert; Cucinotta, Francis; Jones, John H.; Rampe, Elizabeth; Nolan, Thomas; Fisk, Martin; Radziemski, Leon; Barraclough, Bruce; Bender, Steve; Berman, Daniel; Dobrea, Eldar Noe; Tokar, Robert; Williams, Rebecca M. E.; Cleghorn, Timothy; Huntress, Wesley; Manhès, Gérard; Hudgins, Judy; Olson, Timothy; Stewart, Noel; Sarrazin, Philippe; Vicenzi, Edward; Wilson, Sharon A.; Bullock, Mark; Ehresmann, Bent; Hamilton, Victoria; Hassler, Donald; Peterson, Joseph; Rafkin, Scot; Zeitlin, Cary; Fedosov, Fedor; Golovin, Dmitry; Karpushkina, Natalya; Kozyrev, Alexander; Litvak, Maxim; Malakhov, Alexey; Mitrofanov, Igor; Mokrousov, Maxim; Nikiforov, Sergey; Prokhorov, Vasily; Sanin, Anton; Tretyakov, Vladislav; Varenikov, Alexey; Vostrukhin, Andrey; Kuzmin, Ruslan; Clark, Benton; Wolff, Michael; Botta, Oliver; Drake, Darrell; Bean, Keri; Lemmon, Mark; Schwenzer, Susanne P.; Anderson, Ryan B.; Lee, Ella Mae; Sucharski, Robert; Hernández, Miguel Ángel de Pablo; Ávalos, Juan José Blanco; Ramos, Miguel; Kim, Myung-Hee; Malespin, Charles; Plante, Ianik; Muller, Jan-Peter; Ewing, Ryan; Boynton, William; Downs, Robert; Fitzgibbon, Mike; Harshman, Karl; Morrison, Shaunna; Dietrich, William; Kortmann, Onno; Palucis, Marisa; Williams, Amy; Lugmair, Günter; Wilson, Michael A.; Rubin, David; Jakosky, Bruce; Balic-Zunic, Tonci; Frydenvang, Jens; Jensen, Jaqueline Kløvgaard; Kinch, Kjartan; Koefoed, Asmus; Madsen, Morten Bo; Stipp, Susan Louise Svane; Boyd, Nick; VanBommel, Scott; Jacob, Samantha; Owen, Tobias; Rowland, Scott; Atlaskin, Evgeny; Savijärvi, Hannu; Boehm, Eckart; Böttcher, Stephan; Burmeister, Sönke; Guo, Jingnan; Köhler, Jan; García, César Martín; Mueller-Mellin, Reinhold; Wimmer-Schweingruber, Robert; Bridges, John C.; McConnochie, Timothy; Benna, Mehdi; Bower, Hannah; Blau, Hannah; Boucher, Thomas; Carmosino, Marco; Elliott, Harvey; Halleaux, Douglas; Rennó, Nilton; Wong, Michael; Pepin, Robert; Elliott, Beverley; Spray, John; Thompson, Lucy; Gordon, Suzanne; Newsom, Horton; Ollila, Ann; Williams, Joshua; Vasconcelos, Paulo; Bentz, Jennifer; Nealson, Kenneth; Popa, Radu; Kah, Linda C.; Tate, Christopher; Day, Mackenzie; Kocurek, Gary; Hallet, Bernard; Sletten, Ronald; Francis, Raymond; McCullough, Emily; Cloutis, Ed; ten Kate, Inge Loes; Kuzmin, Ruslan; Arvidson, Raymond; Fraeman, Abigail; Scholes, Daniel; Slavney, Susan; Stein, Thomas; Ward, Jennifer; Berger, Jeffrey; Moores, John E.

    2014-01-01

    H2O, CO2, SO2, O2, H2, H2S, HCl, chlorinated hydrocarbons, NO, and other trace gases were evolved during pyrolysis of two mudstone samples acquired by the Curiosity rover at Yellowknife Bay within Gale crater, Mars. H2O/OH-bearing phases included 2:1 phyllosilicate(s), bassanite, akaganeite, and amorphous materials. Thermal decomposition of carbonates and combustion of organic materials are candidate sources for the CO2. Concurrent evolution of O2 and chlorinated hydrocarbons suggests the presence of oxychlorine phase(s). Sulfides are likely sources for sulfur-bearing species. Higher abundances of chlorinated hydrocarbons in the mudstone compared with Rocknest windblown materials previously analyzed by Curiosity suggest that indigenous martian or meteoritic organic carbon sources may be preserved in the mudstone; however, the carbon source for the chlorinated hydrocarbons is not definitively of martian origin.

  7. Volatile and organic compositions of sedimentary rocks in Yellowknife Bay, Gale crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ming, D. W.; Archer, P.D.; Glavin, D.P.; Eigenbrode, J.L.; Franz, H.B.; Sutter, B.; Brunner, A.E.; Stern, J.C.; Freissinet, C.; McAdam, A.C.; Mahaffy, P.R.; Cabane, M.; Coll, P.; Campbell, J.L.; Atreya, S.K.; Niles, P.B.; Bell, J.F.; Bish, D.L.; Brinckerhoff, W.B.; Buch, A.; Conrad, P.G.; Des Marais, D.J.; Ehlmann, B.L.; Fairén, A.G.; Farley, K.; Flesch, G.J.; Francois, P.; Gellert, Ralf; Grant, J. A.; Grotzinger, J.P.; Gupta, S.; Herkenhoff, K. E.; Hurowitz, J.A.; Leshin, L.A.; Lewis, K.W.; McLennan, S.M.; Miller, Karl E.; Moersch, J.; Morris, R.V.; Navarro- González, R.; Pavlov, A.A.; Perrett, G.M.; Pradler, I.; Squyres, S. W.; Summons, Roger E.; Steele, A.; Stolper, E.M.; Sumner, D.Y.; Szopa, C.; Teinturier, S.; Trainer, M.G.; Treiman, A.H.; Vaniman, D.T.; Vasavada, A.R.; Webster, C.R.; Wray, J.J.; Yingst, R.A.

    2014-01-01

    H2O, CO2, SO2, O2, H2, H2S, HCl, chlorinated hydrocarbons, NO, and other trace gases were evolved during pyrolysis of two mudstone samples acquired by the Curiosity rover at Yellowknife Bay within Gale crater, Mars. H2O/OH-bearing phases included 2:1 phyllosilicate(s), bassanite, akaganeite, and amorphous materials. Thermal decomposition of carbonates and combustion of organic materials are candidate sources for the CO2. Concurrent evolution of O2 and chlorinated hydrocarbons suggests the presence of oxychlorine phase(s). Sulfides are likely sources for sulfur-bearing species. Higher abundances of chlorinated hydrocarbons in the mudstone compared with Rocknest windblown materials previously analyzed by Curiosity suggest that indigenous martian or meteoritic organic carbon sources may be preserved in the mudstone; however, the carbon source for the chlorinated hydrocarbons is not definitively of martian origin.

  8. Multispectral VNIR Observations by the Opportunity Rover Pancam of Multiple Episodes of Aqueous Alteration in Marathon Valley, Endeavour Crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Farrand, William H.; Bell, James F., III; Johnson, Jeffrey R.; Arvidson, Raymond E.; Mittlefehldt, David W.; Ruff, Steven W.; Rice, Melissa S.

    2016-01-01

    Since early 2015, the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity has been exploring the break in the rim of Endeavour Crater dubbed Marathon Valley by the rover team. Marathon Valley was identified by orbital hyperspectral data from the MRO CRISM as having a relatively strong spectral feature in the 2.3 micrometer region indicative of an Mg or Fe-OH combination overtone absorption band indicative of smectite clay. Earlier in its mission, Opportunity examined the Matijevic Hill region on the more northerly Cape York crater rim segment and found evidence for smectite clays in a stratigraphically lower, pre-impact formed unit dubbed the Matijevic formation. However, the smectite exposures in Marathon Valley appear to be associated with the stratigraphically higher Shoemaker formation impact breccia. Evidence for alteration in this unit in Marathon Valley is provided by Pancam multispectral observations in the 430 to 1010 nm visible/near infrared (VNIR) spectral range. Sinuous troughs ("red zones") contain fragmented cobbles and pebbles displaying higher blue-to-red slopes, moderately higher 535 nm band depths, elevated 754 to 934 nm, and negative 934 to 1009 nm slopes. The lack of an absorption at 864 to 904 nm indicates the lack of crystalline red hematite in these red zones, but likely an enrichment in nanophase ferric oxides. The negative 934 to 1009 nm slope is potentially indicative of the presence of adsorbed or structurally bound water. A scuff in a red zone near the southern wall of Marathon Valley uncovered light-toned soils and a pebble with an 803 to 864 nm absorption resembling that of light-toned Fe-sulfate bearing soils uncovered by the Spirit rover in the Columbia Hills of Gusev crater. APXS chemical measurements indicated enrichments of Mg and S in the scuff soils and the pebble, Joseph Field, with the strongest 803 nm band- consistent with Mg and Fe sulfates. The presence of Fe and Mg sulfates can be interpreted as evidence of a potentially later episode of

  9. Classification scheme for sedimentary and igneous rocks in Gale crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mangold, N.; Schmidt, M. E.; Fisk, M. R.; Forni, O.; McLennan, S. M.; Ming, D. W.; Sautter, V.; Sumner, D.; Williams, A. J.; Clegg, S. M.; Cousin, A.; Gasnault, O.; Gellert, R.; Grotzinger, J. P.; Wiens, R. C.

    2017-03-01

    Rocks analyzed by the Curiosity rover in Gale crater include a variety of clastic sedimentary rocks and igneous float rocks transported by fluvial and impact processes. To facilitate the discussion of the range of lithologies, we present in this article a petrological classification framework adapting terrestrial classification schemes to Mars compositions (such as Fe abundances typically higher than for comparable lithologies on Earth), to specific Curiosity observations (such as common alkali-rich rocks), and to the capabilities of the rover instruments. Mineralogy was acquired only locally for a few drilled rocks, and so it does not suffice as a systematic classification tool, in contrast to classical terrestrial rock classification. The core of this classification involves (1) the characterization of rock texture as sedimentary, igneous or undefined according to grain/crystal sizes and shapes using imaging from the ChemCam Remote Micro-Imager (RMI), Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) and Mastcam instruments, and (2) the assignment of geochemical modifiers based on the abundances of Fe, Si, alkali, and S determined by the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) and ChemCam instruments. The aims are to help understand Gale crater geology by highlighting the various categories of rocks analyzed by the rover. Several implications are proposed from the cross-comparisons of rocks of various texture and composition, for instance between in place outcrops and float rocks. All outcrops analyzed by the rover are sedimentary; no igneous outcrops have been observed. However, some igneous rocks are clasts in conglomerates, suggesting that part of them are derived from the crater rim. The compositions of in-place sedimentary rocks contrast significantly with the compositions of igneous float rocks. While some of the differences between sedimentary rocks and igneous floats may be related to physical sorting and diagenesis of the sediments, some of the sedimentary rocks (e

  10. Testing models for the formation of the equatorial ridge on Iapetus via crater counting

    Science.gov (United States)

    Damptz, Amanda L.; Dombard, Andrew J.; Kirchoff, Michelle R.

    2018-03-01

    Iapetus's equatorial ridge, visible in global views of the moon, is unique in the Solar System. The formation of this feature is likely attributed to a key event in the evolution of Iapetus, and various models have been proposed as the source of the ridge. By surveying imagery from the Cassini and Voyager missions, this study aims to compile a database of the impact crater population on and around Iapetus's equatorial ridge, assess the relative age of the ridge from differences in cratering between on ridge and off ridge, and test the various models of ridge formation. This work presents a database that contains 7748 craters ranging from 0.83 km to 591 km in diameter. The database includes the study area in which the crater is located, the latitude and longitude of the crater, the major and minor axis lengths, and the azimuthal angle of orientation of the major axis. Analysis of crater orientation over the entire study area reveals that there is no preference for long-axis orientation, particularly in the area with the highest resolution. Comparison of the crater size-frequency distributions show that the crater distribution on the ridge appears to be depleted in craters larger than 16 km with an abruptly enhanced crater population less than 16 km in diameter up to saturation. One possible interpretation is that the ridge is a relatively younger surface with an enhanced small impactor population. Finally, the compiled results are used to examine each ridge formation hypothesis. Based on these results, a model of ridge formation via a tidally disrupted sub-satellite appears most consistent with our interpretation of a younger ridge with an enhanced small impactor population.

  11. Magnetic Properties Experiments on the Mars exploration Rover Spirit at Gusev crater

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Bertelsen, Pernille; Goetz, W.; Madsen, M.B.

    2004-01-01

    The magnetic properties experiments are designed to help identify the magnetic minerals in the dust and rocks on Mars-and to determine whether liquid water was involved in the formation and alteration of these magnetic minerals. Almost all of the dust particles suspended in the martian atmosphere...

  12. Hawai'i and Gale Crater: A Mars Analogue Study of Igneous, Sedimentary, Weathering, and Alteration Trends in Geochemistry

    Science.gov (United States)

    Berger, J. A.; Flemming, R. L.; Schmidt, M. E.; Gellert, R.; Morris, R. V.; Ming, D. W.

    2017-01-01

    Sedimentary rocks in Gale Crater on Mars indicate a varied provenance with a range of alteration and weathering [1, 2]. Geochemical trends identified in basaltic and alkalic sedimentary rocks by the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) on the Mars rover Curiosity represent a complex interplay of igneous, sedimentary, weathering, and alteration processes. Assessing the relative importance of these processes is challenging with unknown compositions for parent sediment sources and with the constraints provided by Curiosity's instruments. We therefore look to Mars analogues on Earth where higher-resolution analyses and geologic context can constrain interpretations of Gale Crater geochemical observations. We selected Maunakea (AKA Mauna Kea) and Kohala volcanoes, Hawai'i, for an analogue study because they are capped by post-shield transitional basalts and alkalic lavas (hawaiites, mugearites) with compositions similar to Gale Crater [1, 3]. Our aim was to characterize Hawaiian geochemical trends associated with igneous processes, sediment transport, weathering, and alteration. Here, we present initial results and discuss implications for selected trends observed by APXS in Gale Crater.

  13. Filled Craters

    Science.gov (United States)

    2006-01-01

    11 May 2006 This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image shows adjacent impact craters located north-northwest of the Acheron Fossae region of Mars. The two craters are of similar size and formed by meteor impacts. However, one is much more filled than the other, indicating that it is older. The surface of the material in the older, partially-filled crater has a texture similar to the crater's surroundings. The southern (bottom) crater is bowl-shaped and is also partially-filled, however, the filling material seems to be limited to the southern half of the crater. Location near: 44.6oN, 128.4oW Image width: 3 km (1.9 mi) Illumination from: lower left Season: Northern Winter

  14. Secondary Craters

    Science.gov (United States)

    2005-01-01

    7 October 2005 This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image shows a cluster of craters in far western Arabia Terra. The crater cluster is oriented along a line that runs nearly east-west (left-right) across the scene. Clusters of craters positioned along a line like this are secondary craters -- that is, they formed as the result of a much larger meteor, asteroid, or cometary impact somewhere else in the region. These craters do not form from the object that impacted Mars to form the larger, primary crater; these are the product of the impact of the rocks and debris thrown out by the larger impact. Location near: 14.9oN, 19.3oW Image width: width: 3 km (1.9 mi) Illumination from: lower left Season: Northern Autumn

  15. Dune and ripple migration along Curiosity's traverse in Gale Crater on Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Silvestro, S.; Vaz, D.; Ewing, R. C.; Fenton, L. K.; Michaels, T. I.; Ayoub, F.; Bridges, N. T.

    2013-12-01

    The NASA Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) rover, Curiosity, has safely landed near a 35-km-long dark dune field in Gale Crater on Mars. This dune field lies along Curiosity's traverse to Aeolis Mons (Mt. Sharp). Here we present new evidence of aeolian activity and further estimate wind directions within the dune field through analysis of ripple migration with the COSI-Corr technique, which provides precise measurements of ripple displacement at the sub-pixel scale.The area analyzed is located ~10 km southwest of rover Curiosity's current position and ~4 km SW of its selected path through Aeolis Mons (Mt. Sharp) (Fig. 1a). Here barchan dunes with elongated horns and seif dunes coexist with more typical barchan and dome dunes (Fig. 1a, b), with slopes sculpted by two intersecting ripple crestline orientations trending at 45° and 330°. The range of dune types and ripple orientations indicate the dune field morphology is influenced by at least two winds from the NW and the NE. The direction of migration is toward the SW, suggesting the most recent sand transporting winds were from the NE (Fig. 1c). These results match previous predictions and can be used to forecast the wind conditions close to the entry point to Mt. Sharp. Fig. 1: a-b) Study area c) Ripple migration direction computed using the COSI-Corr technique

  16. Photosynthesis within Mars' volcanic craters?: Insights from Cerro Negro Volcano, Nicaragua

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rogers, K. L.; Hynek, B. M.; McCollom, T. M.

    2011-12-01

    Discrete locales of sulfate-rich bedrocks exist on Mars and in many cases represent the products of acid-sulfate alteration of martian basalt. In some places, the products have been attributed to hydrothermal processes from local volcanism. In order to evaluate the habitability of such an environment, we are investigating the geochemical and biological composition of active fumaroles at Cerro Negro Volcano, Nicaragua, where fresh basaltic cinders similar in composition to martian basalts are altered by acidic, sulfur-bearing gases. Temperatures at active fumaroles can reach as high as 400°C and the pH of the steam ranges from Cyanobacteria and Ktedonobacteria, however Actinobacteria, alpha-Proteobacteria and Acidobacteria were also identified. Many of the cyanobacterial sequences were similar to those of the eukaryotic Cyanidiales, red algae that inhabit acidic, geothermal environments. Many of sequences related to Ktedonobacteria and Actinobacteria have also been found in acid mine drainage environments. The Archaeal community was far less diverse, with sequences matching those of unclassified Desulfurococcales and unclassified Thermoprotei. These sequences were more distant from isolated species than the bacterial sequences. Similar bacterial and archaeal communities have been found in hot spring environments in Yellowstone National Park, Greenland, Iceland, New Zealand and Costa Rica. Some of Mars' volcanoes were active for billions of years and by analogy to Cerro Negro, may have hosted photosynthetic organisms that could have been preserved in alteration mineral assemblages. Even on a generally cold and dry Mars, volcanic craters likely provided long-lived warm and wet conditions and should be a key target for future exploration assessing habitability.

  17. Mapping Variability in the Medusae Fossae Formation: Yardang Morphologies, Fluvial Reworking, and Crater Depth to Diameter Ratios

    Science.gov (United States)

    Khuller, A. R.; Kerber, L.

    2017-12-01

    The Medusae Fossae Formation (MFF) is a voluminous, fine-grained deposit thought to be of pyroclastic origin. While it contains widespread, well-preserved inverted fluvial features, its pervasive cover of dust means that little is known about its composition, and indirect means must be used to characterize its material properties. This project aims to correlate fluvial features in the Western MFF with other indicators of material strength: yardang morphology and crater depth-to-diameter ratios. For this work, Context Camera (CTX) images were used to map features of fluvial origin (inverted channels, sinuous ridges, alluvial fans). The presence of rounded, meso-yardangs in close proximity to fluvial features was also mapped. Crater depth-diameter (d/D) ratios (for craters 1-512km) were analyzed using a global Mars crater database (Robbins and Hynek, 2012) as a proxy for material strength. Approximately 1400 fluvial segments were mapped, with the most populous cluster located in Aeolis and Zephyria Plana. Rounded meso-yardangs were found to be common in areas that also have fluvial features. In agreement with previous work (Barlow, 1993), MFF craters were found to have a greater d/D ratio (0.0523) than the global mean (0.0511). Ratios between MFF lobes differ significantly, providing insight into the heterogeneity of induration within the formation. The deepest craters are found in Eumenides Dorsum and the shallowest in Aeolis Planum, consistent with a greater degree of induration and reworking in the western part of the formation where the fluvial features and "salt-playa" meso-yardangs are found. It also suggests that Eumenides, which is the tallest MFF outcrop, could also be the least compacted. The presence of long, complex, and sometimes overlapping branching networks imply multiple relative episodes of channel formation. Rounded meso-yardangs, which are associated with salt playa surfaces on Earth, provide additional evidence for the presence of liquid water

  18. Preservation of Late Amazonian Mars ice and water-related deposits in a unique crater environment in Noachis Terra: Age relationships between lobate debris tongues and gullies

    Science.gov (United States)

    Morgan, Gareth A.; Head, James W.; Marchant, David R.

    2011-01-01

    The Amazonian period of Mars has been described as static, cold, and dry. Recent analysis of high-resolution imagery of equatorial and mid-latitude regions has revealed an array of young landforms produced in association with ice and liquid water; because near-surface ice in these regions is currently unstable, these ice-and-water-related landforms suggest one or more episodes of martian climate change during the Amazonian. Here we report on the origin and evolution of valley systems within a degraded crater in Noachis Terra, Asimov Crater. The valleys have produced a unique environment in which to study the geomorphic signals of Amazonian climate change. New high-resolution images reveal Hesperian-aged layered basalt with distinctive columnar jointing capping interior crater fill and providing debris, via mass wasting, for the surrounding annular valleys. The occurrence of steep slopes (>20°), relatively narrow (sheltered) valleys, and a source of debris have provided favorable conditions for the preservation of shallow-ice deposits. Detailed mapping reveals morphological evidence for viscous ice flow, in the form of several lobate debris tongues (LDT). Superimposed on LDT are a series of fresh-appearing gullies, with typical alcove, channel, and fan morphologies. The shift from ice-rich viscous-flow formation to gully erosion is best explained as a shift in martian climate, from one compatible with excess snowfall and flow of ice-rich deposits, to one consistent with minor snow and gully formation. Available dating suggests that the climate transition occurred >8 Ma, prior to the formation of other small-scale ice-rich flow features identified elsewhere on Mars that have been interpreted to have formed during the most recent phases of high obliquity. Taken together, these older deposits suggest that multiple climatic shifts have occurred over the last tens of millions of years of martian history.

  19. Morphology of large impact craters and basins on Venus: Implications for ring formation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Alexopoulos, Jim S.; Mckinnon, William B.

    1993-01-01

    A nearly complete examination of the Magellan radar data for the Venusian surface reveals 72 unequivocal peak-ring craters and 4 larger structures that we interpret to be multiringed. This report updates our earlier studies and that of the Magellan team. The general morphology of peak-ring craters, decreasing ring diameter ratio trends with increasing crater diameter, and the general size-morphology progression from complex central-peak crater to peak-ring crater on Venus and the terrestrial planets suggest similar processes of peak-ring formation. Observations are consistent with a model of dynamic collapse, downward and outward, of an unstable central peak to form a ring. We interpret the four larger ringed structures (Klenova, Lise Meitner, Mead, and Isabella) to be morphologically similar to the Orientale Basin on the Moon, and thus, true multiringed basins.

  20. Sulfate Formation From Acid-Weathered Phylosilicates: Implications for the Aqueous History of Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Craig, P. I.; Ming, D. W.; Rampe, E. B.

    2014-01-01

    Most phyllosilicates on Mars are thought to have formed during the planet's earliest Noachian era, then Mars underwent a global change making the planet's surface more acidic [e.g. 1]. Prevailing acidic conditions may have affected the already existing phyllosilicates, resulting in the formation of sulfates. Both sulfates and phyllosilicates have been identified on Mars in a variety of geologic settings [2] but only in a handful of sites are these minerals found in close spatial proximity to each other, including Mawrth Vallis [3,4] and Gale Crater [5]. While sulfate formation from the acidic weathering of basalts is well documented in the literature [6,7], few experimental studies investigate sulfate formation from acid-weathered phyllosilicates [8-10]. The purpose of this study is to characterize the al-teration products of acid-weathered phyllosilicates in laboratory experiments. We focus on three commonly identified phyllosilicates on Mars: nontronite (Fe-smectite), saponite (Mg-smectite), and montmorillonite (Al-smectite) [1, and references therein]. This information will help constrain the formation processes of sulfates observed in close association with phyllosilicates on Mars and provide a better understanding of the aqueous history of such regions as well as the planet as a whole.

  1. Global Distribution of On-Set Diameters of Rampart Ejecta Craters on Mars: Their Implication to the History of Martian Water

    Science.gov (United States)

    Boyce, Joseph M.; Roddy, David J.; Soderblom, Lawrence A.; Hare, Trent

    2000-01-01

    A global map is presented of on-set diameters of rampart craters. These craters are proposed to result from impact into wet targets. This map shows both global latitudinal and regional trends that are consistent with the climate and geologic history of Mars.

  2. Ceres' intriguing Occator crater and its faculae: formation and evolution

    Science.gov (United States)

    Buczkowski, D.; Scully, J. E. C.; Bowling, T.; Bu, C.; Castillo, J. C.; Jaumann, R.; Longobardo, A.; Nathues, A.; Neesemann, A.; Palomba, E.; Platz, T.; Quick, L. C.; Raponi, A.; Raymond, C. A.; Ruesch, O.; Russell, C. T.; Schenk, P.; Stein, N.

    2017-12-01

    Since March 2015, the Dawn spacecraft has orbited and explored Ceres, which is a dwarf planet and the largest object in the asteroid belt (radius 470 km). One of the most intriguing features on Ceres' surface is Occator crater, a 92-km-diameter impact crater that contains distinctive bright spots, called faculae, within its floor (Nathues et al., 2015; Russell et al., 2016; Schenk et al., 2017). Occator crater has been dated to 20-30 million years old (Nathues et al., 2017; Neesemann et al., 2017). The single scattering albedo of Occator's faculae is 0.67-0.80, which is greater than Ceres' average single scattering albedo of 0.09-0.11 (Li et al., 2016). The central facula is named Cerealia Facula, and is located in a 9 km wide and 700 m deep pit. There are also multiple additional faculae in the eastern crater floor, which are named the Vinalia Faculae. The faculae are mostly composed of sodium carbonate, are distinct from Ceres' average surface composition and are proposed to be the solid residues of crystallized brines (De Sanctis et al., 2016). The presence of such bright, apparently fresh, material on the surface of a dwarf planet that is billions of years old is intriguing, and indicates that active processes involving brines occurred within the geologically recent past. The Dawn Science Team has investigated whether the processes that formed the crater and the faculae are entirely endogenic, entirely exogenic or a combination of both. For example, the extensive lobate materials within the crater floor have been proposed to be impact melt, mass wasting deposits or cryolava flows (e.g. Buczkowski et al., 2017; Jaumann et al., 2017; Nathues et al., 2017; Schenk et al., 2017). Each possibility has the potential to provide fascinating insights into Ceres' evolution, including the potential for liquids within Ceres' interior today. The team's in-depth investigation of Occator crater will be presented in an upcoming special issue of the journal Icarus. This special

  3. Microbial Habitability in Gale Crater: Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) Instrument Detection of Microbial Essential Carbon and Nitrogen

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sutter, B.; Ming, D. W.; Eigenbrode, J. E.; Steele, A.; Stern, J. C.; Gonzalez, R. N.; McAdam, A. C.; Mahaffy, P. R.

    2016-01-01

    Chemical analyses of Mars soils and sediments from previous landed missions have demonstrated that Mars surface materials possessed major (e.g., P, K, Ca, Mg, S) and minor (e.g., Fe, Mn, Zn, Ni, Cl) elements essential to support microbial life. However, the detection of microbial essential organic-carbon (C) and nitrate have been more elusive until the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) rover mission. Nitrate and organic-C in Gale Crater, Mars have been detected by the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument onboard the MSL Curiosity rover. Eolian fines and drilled sedimentary rock samples were heated in the SAM oven from approximately 30 to 860 degrees Centigrade where evolved gases (e.g., nitrous oxide (NO) and CO2) were released and analyzed by SAM’s quadrupole mass spectrometer (MS). The temperatures of evolved NO was assigned to nitrate while evolved CO2 was assigned to organic-C and carbonate. The CO2 releases in several samples occurred below 450 degrees Centigrade suggesting organic-C dominated in those samples. As much as 7 micromoles NO3-N per gram and 200 micromoles CO2-C per gram have been detected in the Gale Crater materials. These N and C levels coupled with assumed microbial biomass (9 x 10 (sup -7) micrograms per cell) C (0.5 micrograms C per micrograms cell) and N (0.14 micrograms N per micrograms cell) requirements, suggests that less than 1 percent and less than 10 percent of Gale Crater C and N, respectively, would be required if available, to accommodate biomass requirements of 1 by 10 (sup 5) cells per gram sediment. While nitrogen is the limiting nutrient, the potential exists that sufficient N and organic-C were present to support limited heterotrophic microbial populations that may have existed on ancient Mars.

  4. Identification of Phyllosilicates in Mudstone Samples Using Water Releases Detected by the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) Instrument in Gale Crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hogancamp, J. V. (Clark); Ming, D. W.; McAdam, A. C.; Archer, P. D.; Morris, R. V.; Bristow, T. F.; Rampe, E. B.; Mahaffy, P. R.; Gellert, R.

    2017-01-01

    The Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument on board the Curiosity Rover has detected high temperature water releases from mud-stones in the areas of Yellowknife Bay, Pahrump Hills, Naukluft Plateau, and Murray Buttes in Gale crater. Dehydroxylation of phyllosilicates may have caused the high temperature water releases observed in these samples. Because each type of phyllosilicate undergoes dehydroxylation at distinct temperatures, these water releases can be used to help constrain the type of phyllosilicate present in each sample.

  5. Martian Meteor Crater

    Science.gov (United States)

    2004-01-01

    20 February 2004 This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image shows a fairly young meteor impact crater on Mars that is about the same size ( 1 kilometer; 0.62 miles) as the famous Meteor Crater in northern Arizona, U.S.A. Like the Arizona crater, boulders of ejected bedrock can be seen on the crater's ejecta blanket and in the crater itself. This crater is located in the Aethiopis region of Mars near 4.7oN, 224.1oW. Sunlight illuminates the scene from the lower left.

  6. Preliminary Geological Map of the Peace Vallis Fan Integrated with In Situ Mosaics From the Curiosity Rover, Gale Crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sumner, D. Y.; Palucis, M.; Dietrich, B.; Calef, F.; Stack, K. M.; Ehlmann, B.; Bridges, J.; Dromart, J.; Eigenbrode, J.; Farmer, J.; hide

    2013-01-01

    A geomorphically defined alluvial fan extends from Peace Vallis on the NW wall of Gale Crater, Mars into the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Curiosity rover landing ellipse. Prior to landing, the MSL team mapped the ellipse and surrounding areas, including the Peace Vallis fan. Map relationships suggest that bedded rocks east of the landing site are likely associated with the fan, which led to the decision to send Curiosity east. Curiosity's mast camera (Mastcam) color images are being used to refine local map relationships. Results from regional mapping and the first 100 sols of the mission demonstrate that the area has a rich geological history. Understanding this history will be critical for assessing ancient habitability and potential organic matter preservation at Gale Crater.

  7. Compositions of Diverse Noachian Lithologies at Marathon Valley, Endeavour Crater Rim, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mittlefehldt, David W.; Gellert, Ralf; Yen, Albert S.; Ming, Douglas W.; Van Bommel, Scott; Farrand, William H.; Arvidson, Raymond E.; Rice, James W., Jr.

    2015-01-01

    Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity has been exploring Meridiani Planum for 11+ years, and is presently investigating the geology of rim segments of 22 km diameter, Noachian-aged Endeavour crater. The Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer has determined the compositions of a pre-impact lithology and impact breccias representing ejecta from the crater. Opportunity is now investigating the head (higher elevation, western end) of Marathon Valley. This valley cuts eastward through the central portion of the Cape Tribulation rim segment and provides a window into the lower stratigraphic record of the rim. At the head of Marathon Valley is a shallow (few 10s of cm), ovoid depression approximately 27×36 m in size, named Spirit of Saint Louis, that is surrounded by approximately 20-30 cm wide zone of more reddish rocks (red zone). Opportunity has just entered a region of Marathon Valley that shows evidence for Fe-Mg smectite in Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars spectra indicating areally extensive and distinct lithologic units and/or styles of aqueous alteration. Rocks at the head of Marathon Valley and within Spirit of Saint Louis are breccias (valley-head rocks). In some areas, layering inside Spirit of Saint Louis appears continuous with the rocks outside. The valley-head rocks are of similar, generally basaltic composition. The continuity in composition, texture and layering suggest the valley-head rocks are coeval breccias, likely from the Endeavour impact. These local breccias are similar in non-volatile-element composition to breccias investigated elsewhere on the rim. Rocks within the red zone are like those on either side in texture, but have higher Al, Si and Ge, and lower S, Mn, Fe, Ni and Zn as compared to rocks on either side. The valley-head rocks have higher S than most Endeavour rim breccias, while red zone rocks are like those latter breccias in S. Patches within the rocks outside Spirit of Saint Louis have higher Al, Si and Ge indicating

  8. Crater Formation on Electrodes during Charge Transfer with Aqueous Droplets or Solid Particles

    Science.gov (United States)

    Elton, Eric S.; Rosenberg, Ethan R.; Ristenpart, William D.

    2017-11-01

    We report that metallic electrodes are physically pitted during charge transfer events with water droplets or other conductive objects moving in strong electric fields (>1 kV/cm). Post situ microscopic inspection of the electrode shows that an individual charge transfer event yields a crater approximately 1 to 3 microns wide, often with features similar to splash coronae. We interpret the crater formation in terms of localized melting of the electrode via resistive heating concurrent with dielectric breakdown through the surrounding insulating fluid. A scaling analysis indicates that the crater diameter scales as the inverse cube root of the melting point temperature Tm of the metal, in accord with measurements on several metals (660°C <=Tm <= 3414°C). The process of crater formation provides a possible explanation for the longstanding difficulty in quantitatively corroborating Maxwell's prediction for the amount of charge acquired by spheres contacting a planar electrode.

  9. The origin of Phobos grooves from ejecta launched from impact craters on Mars: Tests of the hypothesis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ramsley, Kenneth R.; Head, James W.

    2013-01-01

    The surface of the martian moon Phobos is characterized by parallel and intersecting grooves that bear resemblance to secondary crater chains observed on planetary surfaces. Murray (2011) has hypothesized that the main groove-forming process on Phobos is the intersection of Phobos with ejecta from primary impact events on Mars to produce chains of secondary craters. The hypothesis infers a pattern of parallel jets of ejecta, either fluidized or solidified, that break into equally-spaced fragments and disperse uniformly along-trajectory during the flight from Mars to Phobos. At the moment of impact with Phobos the dispersed fragments emplace secondary craters that are aligned along strike corresponding to the flight pattern of ejecta along trajectory. The aspects of the characteristics of grooves on Phobos cited by this hypothesis that might be explained by secondary ejecta include: their observed linearity, parallelism, planar alignment, pitted nature, change in character along strike, and a "zone of avoidance" where ejecta from Mars is predicted not to impact (Murray, 2011). To test the hypothesis we plot precise Keplerian orbits for ejecta from Mars (elliptical and hyperbolic with periapsis located below the surface of Mars). From these trajectories we: (1) set the fragment dispersion limits of ejecta patterns required to emplace the more typically well-organized parallel grooves observed in returned images from Phobos; (2) plot ranges of the ejecta flight durations from Mars to Phobos and map regions of exposure; (3) utilize the same exposure map to observe trajectory-defined ejecta exposure shadows; (4) observe hemispheric exposure in response to shorter and longer durations of ejecta flight; (5) assess the viability of ejecta emplacing the large family of grooves covering most of the northern hemisphere of Phobos; and (6) plot the arrival of parallel lines of ejecta emplacing chains of craters at oblique incident angles. We also assess the bulk volume of

  10. Probing the Hidden Geology of Isidis Planitia (Mars with Impact Craters

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Graziella Caprarelli

    2015-02-01

    Full Text Available In this study we investigated Isidis Planitia, a 1325 km diameter multi-ring impact basin intersecting the Martian hemispheric dichotomy, located in the eastern hemisphere, between Syrtis Major and Utopia Planitia. From Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter gridded data we observed that in the center of Isidis the −3700 m and −3800 m isolines strike NW-SE, being quasi-parallel to the diameter of the basin. We interpreted this as evidence that the basement of Isidis Planitia was faulted prior to being completely covered by layers of sediments and volcanic rocks. Plotting the morphometric data of impact craters located on the floor of the basin in a measured depths vs. predicted depths diagram (MPD, we concluded that the fault planes should dip SW, which is consistent with the location of the most topographically depressed sector of Isidis Planitia. We also estimated a minimum vertical displacement of ~1–2 km. Considering that the crust under Isidis Planitia is only a few km thick, our estimate implies brittle behavior of the lithosphere under the basin, suggesting that a low geothermal gradient and rheologically strong material characterize this Martian location.

  11. Mercury's Crater-Hosted Hollows: Chalcogenide Pryo-Thermokarst, and Permafrost Analogs on Earth, Mars, and Titan

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kargel, Jeffrey

    2013-04-01

    MESSENGER has acquired stunning images of pitted, light-toned and variegated light/dark terrains located primarily on the floors—probably impact-melt sheets—of many of Mercury's large craters. Termed "hollows", the pitted terrains are geomorphologically similar to some on Mars formed by sublimation of ice-rich permafrost and to lowland thermokarst on Earth formed by permafrost thaw; to "swiss cheese" terrain forming by sublimation of frozen CO2 at the Martian South Pole; and to suspected hydrocarbon thermokarst at Titan's poles. I shall briefly review some analogs on these other worlds. The most plausible explanation for Mercury's hollows is terrain degradation involving melting or sublimation of heterogeneous chalcogenide and sulfosalt mineral assemblages. I refer to these Mercurian features as pyrothermokarst; the etymological redundancy distinguishes the conditions and mineral agents from the ice-related features on Earth and Mars, though some of the physical processes may be similar. Whereas ice and sulfur have long been suspected and ice recently was discovered in permanently shadowed craters of Mercury's polar regions, the hollows occur down to the equator, where neither ice nor sulfur is plausible. The responsible volatiles must be only slightly volatile on the surface and/or in the upper crust of Mercury's low to middle latitudes at 400-800 K, but they must be capable of either melting or sublimating on geologically long time scales. Under prevailing upper crustal and surface temperatures, chalcophile-rich "permafrost" can undergo either desulfidation or melting reactions that could cause migration or volume changes of the permafrost, and hence lead to collapse and pitting. I propose the initial emplacement of crater-hosted chalcogenides, sulfosalts and related chalcophile materials such as pnictides, in impact-melt pools (involving solid-liquid and silicate-sulfide fractionation) and further differentiation by associated dry or humid fumaroles (solid

  12. Fresh Crater

    Science.gov (United States)

    2004-01-01

    30 July 2004 This full-resolution (1.5 meters, 5 feet, per pixel) Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image shows a fairly small, fresh meteor impact crater in far southeastern Arabia Terra. The crater's bowl, rim, and ejecta exhibit numerous boulders. The image covers an area about 3 km (1.9 mi) wide and is located near 6.9oS, 317.1oW. Sunlight illuminates the terrain from the left.

  13. The Mars Science Laboratory Mission: Early Results from Gale Crater Landing Site

    Science.gov (United States)

    Flatow, I.; Grotzinger, J. P.; Blake, D.; Crisp, J. A.; Edgett, K. S.; Gellert, R.; Gomez-Elvira, J.; Hassler, D. M.; Mahaffy, P. R.; Malin, M. C.; Meyer, M. A.; Mitrofanov, I.; Vasavada, A. R.; Wiens, R. C.

    2012-12-01

    The Mars Science Laboratory rover, Curiosity, landed at Gale Crater on August 5th (PDT) and initiated an investigation of modern and ancient environments. The 155-km diameter Gale Crater was chosen as Curiosity's field site based on several attributes: the interior Mount Sharp preserves a succession of flat-lying strata extending almost 5 km above the elevation of the landing site; the lower few hundred meters of the mound show a progression with relative age from clay-bearing to sulfate-bearing strata, separated by an unconformity from overlying likely anhydrous strata; the landing ellipse is characterized by a mixture of alluvial fan and high thermal inertia/high albedo stratified deposits; and a number of stratigraphically/geomorphically distinct fluvial features. Gale's regional context and strong evidence for a progression through multiple potentially habitable environments, represented by a stratigraphic record of extraordinary extent, ensure preservation of a rich record of the environmental history of early Mars. Curiosity has an expected lifetime of at least one Mars year (~23 months), and drive capability of at least 20 km. The MSL science payload was specifically assembled to assess habitability and includes a gas chromatograph-mass spectrometer and gas analyzer that will search for organic carbon in rocks, regolith fines, and the atmosphere (SAM); an x-ray diffractometer that will determine mineralogical diversity (CheMin); focusable cameras that can image landscapes and rock/regolith textures in natural color (MAHLI, Mastcam); an alpha-particle x-ray spectrometer for in situ determination of rock and soil chemistry (APXS); a laser-induced breakdown spectrometer to remotely sense the chemical composition of rocks and minerals (ChemCam); an active/passive neutron spectrometer designed to search for water in rocks/regolith (DAN); a weather station to measure modern-day environmental variables (REMS); and a sensor designed for continuous monitoring of

  14. Mars: The evolutionary history of the northern lowlands based on crater counting and geologic mapping

    Science.gov (United States)

    Werner, S. C.; Tanaka, K. L.; Skinner, J. A.

    2011-09-01

    The geologic history of planetary surfaces is most effectively determined by joining geologic mapping and crater counting which provides an iterative, qualitative and quantitative method for defining relative ages and absolute model ages. Based on this approach, we present spatial and temporal details regarding the evolution of the Martian northern plains and surrounding regions. The highland-lowland boundary (HLB) formed during the pre-Noachian and was subsequently modified through various processes. The Nepenthes Mensae unit along the northern margins of the cratered highlands, was formed by HLB scarp-erosion, deposition of sedimentary and volcanic materials, and dissection by surface runoff between 3.81 and 3.65 Ga. Ages for giant polygons in Utopia and Acidalia Planitiae are ˜ 3.75 Ga and likely reflect the age of buried basement rocks. These buried lowland surfaces are comparable in age to those located closer to the HLB, where a much thinner, post-HLB deposit is mapped. The emplacement of the most extensive lowland surfaces ended between 3.75 and 3.4 Ga, based on densities of craters generally >3km in diameter. Results from the polygonal terrain support the existence of a major lowland depocenter shortly after the pre-Noachian formation of the northern lowlands. In general, northern plains surfaces show gradually younger ages at lower elevations, consistent local to regional unit emplacement and resurfacing between 3.6 and 2.6 Ga. Elevation levels and morphology are not necessarily related, and variations in ages within the mapped units are found, especially in units formed and modified by multiple geological processes. Regardless, most of the youngest units in the northern lowlands are considered to be lavas, polar ice, or thick mantle deposits, arguing against the ocean theory during the Amazonian Period (younger than about 3.15 Ga). All ages measured in the closest vicinity of the steep dichotomy escarpment are also 3.7 Ga or older. The formation ages of

  15. Modification history of the Harmakhis Vallis outflow channel, Mars, based on CTX-scale photogeologic mapping and crater count dating

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kukkonen, S.; Kostama, V.-P.

    2018-01-01

    Harmakhis Vallis is one of the four major outflow channel systems (Dao, Niger, Harmakhis, and Reull Valles) that cut the eastern rim region of the Hellas basin, the largest well-preserved impact structure on Mars. The structure of Harmakhis Vallis and the volume of its head depression, as well as earlier dating studies of the region, suggest that the outflow channel formed in the Hesperian period by collapsing when a large amount of subsurface fluid was released. Thus Harmakhis Vallis, as well as the other nearby outflow channels, represents a significant stage of the fluvial activity in the regional history. On the other hand, the outflow channel lies in the Martian mid-latitude zone, where there are several geomorphologic indicators of past and possibly also contemporary ground ice. The floor of Harmakhis also displays evidence of a later-stage ice-related activity, as the outflow channel has been covered by lineated valley fill deposits and debris apron material. The eastern rim region of the Hellas impact basin has been the subject of numerous geologic mapping studies at various scales and based on different imaging data sets. However, Harmakhis Vallis itself has received less attention and the studies on the outflow channel have focused only on limited parts of the outflow channel or on separated different geologic events. In this work, the Harmakhis Vallis floor is mapped and dated from the head depression to the beginning of the terminus based on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter's ConTeXt camera images (CTX; ∼ 6 m/pixel). Our results show that Harmakhis Vallis has been modified by several processes after its formation. Age determinations on the small uncovered parts of the outflow channel, which possibly represent the original floor of Harmakhis, imply that Harmakhis may have experienced fluvial activity only 780-850 ( ± 400-600) Ma ago. The discovered terrace structure instead shows that the on-surface activity of the outflow channel has been periodic

  16. Low Albedo Surfaces and Eolian Sediment: Mars Orbiter Camera Views of Western Arabia Terra Craters and Wind Streaks

    Science.gov (United States)

    Edgett, Kenneth S.

    2001-01-01

    High spatial resolution (1.5 to 12 m/pixel) Mars Global Surveyor Mars Orbiter Camera images obtained September 1997 through June 2001 indicate that the large, dark wind streaks of western Arabia Terra each originate at a barchan dune field on a crater floor. The streaks consist of a relatively thin coating of sediment deflated from the dune fields and their vicinity. This sediment drapes a previous mantle that more thickly covers nearly all of western Arabia Terra. No dunes or eolian bedforms are found within the dark wind streaks, nor do any of the intracrater dunes climb up crater walls to provide sand to the wind streaks. The relations between dunes, wind streak, and subjacent terrain imply that dark-toned grains finer than those which comprise the dunes are lifted into suspension and carried out of the craters to be deposited on the adjacent terrain. Such grains are most likely in the silt size range (3.9-62.5 micrometers). The streaks change in terms of extent, relative albedo, and surface pattern over periods measured in years, but very little evidence for recent eolian activity (dust plumes, storms, dune movement) has been observed.

  17. Impact Crater

    Science.gov (United States)

    2006-01-01

    16 January 2006 This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image shows an impact crater, roughly the size of the famous Meteor Crater in northern Arizona, U.S.A., in western Elysium Planitia. Light-toned, windblown ripples of sediment have accumulated in subtle troughs and in the lee -- the downwind side -- of the crater. Location near: 28.4oN, 247.9oW Image width: 3 km (1.9 mi) Illumination from: lower left Season: Northern Winter

  18. Magnetic Properties Experiments on the Mars exploration Rover Spirit at Gusev crater

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Bertelsen, Pernille; Goetz, W.; Madsen, M.B.

    2004-01-01

    The magnetic properties experiments are designed to help identify the magnetic minerals in the dust and rocks on Mars-and to determine whether liquid water was involved in the formation and alteration of these magnetic minerals. Almost all of the dust particles suspended in the martian atmosphere...... must contain ferrimagnetic minerals (such as maghemite or magnetite) in an amount of similar to2% by weight. The most magnetic fraction of the dust appears darker than the average dust. Magnetite was detected in the first two rocks ground by Spirit....

  19. Geology of McLaughlin Crater, Mars: A Unique Lacustrine Setting with Implications for Astrobiology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Michalski, J. R.; Niles, P. B.; Rogers, A. D.; Johnson, S. S.; Ashley, J. W.; Golombek, M. P.

    2016-01-01

    McLaughlin crater is a 92-kmdiameter Martian impact crater that contained an ancient carbonate- and clay mineral-bearing lake in the Late Noachian. Detailed analysis of the geology within this crater reveals a complex history with important implications for astrobiology [1]. The basin contains evidence for, among other deposits, hydrothermally altered rocks, delta deposits, deep water (>400 m) sediments, and potentially turbidites. The geology of this basin stands in stark contrast to that of some ancient basins that contain evidence for transient aqueous processes and airfall sediments (e.g. Gale Crater [2-3]).

  20. Core formation and mantle differentiation on Mars

    OpenAIRE

    Mezger Klaus; Debaille Vinciane; Kleine Thorsten

    2012-01-01

    Geochemical investigation of Martian meteorites (SNC meteorites) yields important constraints on the chemical and geodynamical evolution of Mars. These samples may not be representative of the whole of Mars; however they provide constraints on the early differentiation processes on Mars. The bulk composition of Martian samples implies the presence of a metallic core that formed concurrently as the planet accreted. The strong depletion of highly siderophile elements in the Martian mantle is on...

  1. Groundwater influence on the aeolian sequence stratigraphy of the Mechertate-Chrita-Sidi El Hani system, Tunisian Sahel: Analogies to the wet-dry aeolian sequence stratigraphy at Meridiani Planum, Terby crater, and Gale crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Essefi, Elhoucine; Komatsu, Goro; Fairén, Alberto G.; Chan, Marjorie A.; Yaich, Chokri

    2014-05-01

    A multidisciplinary study of the watershed and depressions of the Mechertate-Chrita-Sidi El Hani (MCSH) system in eastern Tunisia shows that groundwater upwelling and/or seepage toward the modern surface is important in the shaping of its geomorphologic features and sediment outcrops. Along the watershed of the system, groundwater is downward enriched with evaporitic minerals. These minerals precipitate as cement and protect the sediment outcrops from aeolian erosion. The water table is the limiting control on erosion and deposition, and also influences the succession of sediment along the system. The water table further determines the local base level, which controls the deposition within depressions. With increasing humidity at the limit of the capillary fringe, the landscape of the evaporative system is organized according to three sedimentary types: (1) unconsolidated sediment of aqueous and/or aeolian origin that is eroded and transported toward depressions (away from groundwater interactions), (2) consolidated sediment that is also aqueous and/or aeolian in origin and is protected from aeolian erosion by groundwater influence, and (3) sedimentary filling of depressions located within accumulation zones. These sediments are organized along a lateral, basinward profile. Here we show that during periods of relative water table fall, sediments from the watershed prograde to cover the sabkha basin fill. The rise and fall of the water table and the connected base level result in the deposition of genetically-related progradational and retrogradational sequences. We propose that these genetic sequences can be useful to interpret the sequence stratigraphy at three locations on Mars where sedimentary formations were probably controlled by direct groundwater influence: Meridiani Planum, Terby crater, and Gale crater. At Meridiani Planum, the exposed stratigraphic sequence of the Burns formation starts with deposition of dry aeolian sediment derived from a former

  2. Investigating the Formation of Mars Recurring Slope Lineae through Laboratory Experiments

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cantillo, D. C.; Hibbitts, C.; Wing, B. R.; Mushkin, A.; Stockstill-Cahill, K.; Viviano-Beck, C. E.

    2017-12-01

    The presence of low-albedo streaks on crater slopes, Recurring Slope Lineae (RSLs), may be evidence for present-day intermittent and repeated flow of water or brine on the surface of Mars. RSLs grow, fade, and can grow again seasonally as surface temperatures change [e.g. 1,2]. Although distinguishable by being darker than the surrounding terrain, they have no diagnostic absorption features [3] with the exception of a ferric feature that may be related to grain size [4] and the notable discovery of hydrated perchlorates at the base of one set of RSLs [5]. To explore liquid-based hypotheses for the formation of RSLs, we have constructed an environmental chamber that can simulate Martian surface conditions. The development of this chamber follows upon the successful completion of preliminary tests under a terrestrial atmosphere [6] to prove the optical design and subsequently under Mars pressure to verify the technical approach [7]. The Mars Analog Reflectance Spectroscopy (MARS) chamber is capable of exposing soils to brines from underneath, simulating possible subsurface wetting that could result in RSL formation. While maintaining Mars pressure and similar oxygen fugacity, the chamber will also allow the collection of spectra from 0.4 to 2.4 microns. Various brine compositions can be investigated, including solutions of iron chlorides. These unique salts can lower the soil albedo without inducing a spectral absorption feature, whereas other salts brighten the surface after drying or retain significant water [8]. Another possible darkening mechanism is also being explored within the MARS chamber. Experiments have shown that evaporation of liquid from palagonitic soils under Mars pressure create ubiquitous grain scale cavities within the surface [7]. This micro-roughness increases shadowing and darkens the surface, indicating it may be a process of darkening that is independent of brine composition.

  3. Mineralogy, provenance, and diagenesis of a potassic basaltic sandstone on Mars: CheMin X‐ray diffraction of the Windjana sample (Kimberley area, Gale Crater)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bish, David L.; Vaniman, David T.; Chipera, Steve J.; Blake, David F.; Ming, Doug W.; Morris, Richard V.; Bristow, Thomas F.; Morrison, Shaunna M.; Baker, Michael B.; Rampe, Elizabeth B.; Downs, Robert T.; Filiberto, Justin; Glazner, Allen F.; Gellert, Ralf; Thompson, Lucy M.; Schmidt, Mariek E.; Le Deit, Laetitia; Wiens, Roger C.; McAdam, Amy C.; Achilles, Cherie N.; Edgett, Kenneth S.; Farmer, Jack D.; Fendrich, Kim V.; Grotzinger, John P.; Gupta, Sanjeev; Morookian, John Michael; Newcombe, Megan E.; Rice, Melissa S.; Spray, John G.; Stolper, Edward M.; Sumner, Dawn Y.; Vasavada, Ashwin R.; Yen, Albert S.

    2016-01-01

    Abstract The Windjana drill sample, a sandstone of the Dillinger member (Kimberley formation, Gale Crater, Mars), was analyzed by CheMin X‐ray diffraction (XRD) in the MSL Curiosity rover. From Rietveld refinements of its XRD pattern, Windjana contains the following: sanidine (21% weight, ~Or95); augite (20%); magnetite (12%); pigeonite; olivine; plagioclase; amorphous and smectitic material (~25%); and percent levels of others including ilmenite, fluorapatite, and bassanite. From mass balance on the Alpha Proton X‐ray Spectrometer (APXS) chemical analysis, the amorphous material is Fe rich with nearly no other cations—like ferrihydrite. The Windjana sample shows little alteration and was likely cemented by its magnetite and ferrihydrite. From ChemCam Laser‐Induced Breakdown Spectrometer (LIBS) chemical analyses, Windjana is representative of the Dillinger and Mount Remarkable members of the Kimberley formation. LIBS data suggest that the Kimberley sediments include at least three chemical components. The most K‐rich targets have 5.6% K2O, ~1.8 times that of Windjana, implying a sediment component with >40% sanidine, e.g., a trachyte. A second component is rich in mafic minerals, with little feldspar (like a shergottite). A third component is richer in plagioclase and in Na2O, and is likely to be basaltic. The K‐rich sediment component is consistent with APXS and ChemCam observations of K‐rich rocks elsewhere in Gale Crater. The source of this sediment component was likely volcanic. The presence of sediment from many igneous sources, in concert with Curiosity's identifications of other igneous materials (e.g., mugearite), implies that the northern rim of Gale Crater exposes a diverse igneous complex, at least as diverse as that found in similar‐age terranes on Earth. PMID:27134806

  4. Evidence for indigenous nitrogen in sedimentary and aeolian deposits from the Curiosity rover investigations at Gale crater, Mars.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stern, Jennifer C; Sutter, Brad; Freissinet, Caroline; Navarro-González, Rafael; McKay, Christopher P; Archer, P Douglas; Buch, Arnaud; Brunner, Anna E; Coll, Patrice; Eigenbrode, Jennifer L; Fairen, Alberto G; Franz, Heather B; Glavin, Daniel P; Kashyap, Srishti; McAdam, Amy C; Ming, Douglas W; Steele, Andrew; Szopa, Cyril; Wray, James J; Martín-Torres, F Javier; Zorzano, Maria-Paz; Conrad, Pamela G; Mahaffy, Paul R

    2015-04-07

    The Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) investigation on the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Curiosity rover has detected oxidized nitrogen-bearing compounds during pyrolysis of scooped aeolian sediments and drilled sedimentary deposits within Gale crater. Total N concentrations ranged from 20 to 250 nmol N per sample. After subtraction of known N sources in SAM, our results support the equivalent of 110-300 ppm of nitrate in the Rocknest (RN) aeolian samples, and 70-260 and 330-1,100 ppm nitrate in John Klein (JK) and Cumberland (CB) mudstone deposits, respectively. Discovery of indigenous martian nitrogen in Mars surface materials has important implications for habitability and, specifically, for the potential evolution of a nitrogen cycle at some point in martian history. The detection of nitrate in both wind-drifted fines (RN) and in mudstone (JK, CB) is likely a result of N2 fixation to nitrate generated by thermal shock from impact or volcanic plume lightning on ancient Mars. Fixed nitrogen could have facilitated the development of a primitive nitrogen cycle on the surface of ancient Mars, potentially providing a biochemically accessible source of nitrogen.

  5. Evidence for indigenous nitrogen in sedimentary and aeolian deposits from the Curiosity rover investigations at Gale crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stern, Jennifer C.; Sutter, Brad; Freissinet, Caroline; Navarro-González, Rafael; McKay, Christopher P.; Archer, P. Douglas; Buch, Arnaud; Brunner, Anna E.; Coll, Patrice; Eigenbrode, Jennifer L.; Fairen, Alberto G.; Franz, Heather B.; Glavin, Daniel P.; Kashyap, Srishti; McAdam, Amy C.; Ming, Douglas W.; Steele, Andrew; Szopa, Cyril; Wray, James J.; Martín-Torres, F. Javier; Zorzano, Maria-Paz; Conrad, Pamela G.; Mahaffy, Paul R.; Kemppinen, Osku; Bridges, Nathan; Johnson, Jeffrey R.; Minitti, Michelle; Cremers, David; Bell, James F.; Edgar, Lauren; Farmer, Jack; Godber, Austin; Wadhwa, Meenakshi; Wellington, Danika; McEwan, Ian; Newman, Claire; Richardson, Mark; Charpentier, Antoine; Peret, Laurent; King, Penelope; Blank, Jennifer; Weigle, Gerald; Schmidt, Mariek; Li, Shuai; Milliken, Ralph; Robertson, Kevin; Sun, Vivian; Baker, Michael; Edwards, Christopher; Ehlmann, Bethany; Farley, Kenneth; Griffes, Jennifer; Grotzinger, John; Miller, Hayden; Newcombe, Megan; Pilorget, Cedric; Rice, Melissa; Siebach, Kirsten; Stack, Katie; Stolper, Edward; Brunet, Claude; Hipkin, Victoria; Léveillé, Richard; Marchand, Geneviève; Sánchez, Pablo Sobrón; Favot, Laurent; Cody, George; Steele, Andrew; Flückiger, Lorenzo; Lees, David; Nefian, Ara; Martin, Mildred; Gailhanou, Marc; Westall, Frances; Israël, Guy; Agard, Christophe; Baroukh, Julien; Donny, Christophe; Gaboriaud, Alain; Guillemot, Philippe; Lafaille, Vivian; Lorigny, Eric; Paillet, Alexis; Pérez, René; Saccoccio, Muriel; Yana, Charles; Armiens-Aparicio, Carlos; Rodríguez, Javier Caride; Blázquez, Isaías Carrasco; Gómez, Felipe Gómez; Gómez-Elvira, Javier; Hettrich, Sebastian; Malvitte, Alain Lepinette; Jiménez, Mercedes Marín; Martínez-Frías, Jesús; Martín-Soler, Javier; - Torres, F. Javier Martín; Jurado, Antonio Molina; Mora-Sotomayor, Luis; Caro, Guillermo Muñoz; López, Sara Navarro; Peinado-González, Verónica; Pla-García, Jorge; Manfredi, José Antonio Rodriguez; Romeral-Planelló, Julio José; Fuentes, Sara Alejandra Sans; Martinez, Eduardo Sebastian; Redondo, Josefina Torres; Urqui-O'Callaghan, Roser; Mier, María-Paz Zorzano; Chipera, Steve; Lacour, Jean-Luc; Mauchien, Patrick; Sirven, Jean-Baptiste; Manning, Heidi; Fairén, Alberto; Hayes, Alexander; Joseph, Jonathan; Squyres, Steven; Sullivan, Robert; Thomas, Peter; Dupont, Audrey; Lundberg, Angela; Melikechi, Noureddine; Mezzacappa, Alissa; DeMarines, Julia; Grinspoon, David; Reitz, Günther; Prats, Benito; Atlaskin, Evgeny; Genzer, Maria; Harri, Ari-Matti; Haukka, Harri; Kahanpää, Henrik; Kauhanen, Janne; Kemppinen, Osku; Paton, Mark; Polkko, Jouni; Schmidt, Walter; Siili, Tero; Fabre, Cécile; Wray, James; Wilhelm, Mary Beth; Poitrasson, Franck; Patel, Kiran; Gorevan, Stephen; Indyk, Stephen; Paulsen, Gale; Gupta, Sanjeev; Bish, David; Schieber, Juergen; Gondet, Brigitte; Langevin, Yves; Geffroy, Claude; Baratoux, David; Berger, Gilles; Cros, Alain; d’Uston, Claude; Forni, Olivier; Gasnault, Olivier; Lasue, Jérémie; Lee, Qiu-Mei; Maurice, Sylvestre; Meslin, Pierre-Yves; Pallier, Etienne; Parot, Yann; Pinet, Patrick; Schröder, Susanne; Toplis, Mike; Lewin, Éric; Brunner, Will; Heydari, Ezat; Achilles, Cherie; Oehler, Dorothy; Sutter, Brad; Cabane, Michel; Coscia, David; Israël, Guy; Szopa, Cyril; Dromart, Gilles; Robert, François; Sautter, Violaine; Le Mouélic, Stéphane; Mangold, Nicolas; Nachon, Marion; Buch, Arnaud; Stalport, Fabien; Coll, Patrice; François, Pascaline; Raulin, François; Teinturier, Samuel; Cameron, James; Clegg, Sam; Cousin, Agnès; DeLapp, Dorothea; Dingler, Robert; Jackson, Ryan Steele; Johnstone, Stephen; Lanza, Nina; Little, Cynthia; Nelson, Tony; Wiens, Roger C.; Williams, Richard B.; Jones, Andrea; Kirkland, Laurel; Treiman, Allan; Baker, Burt; Cantor, Bruce; Caplinger, Michael; Davis, Scott; Duston, Brian; Edgett, Kenneth; Fay, Donald; Hardgrove, Craig; Harker, David; Herrera, Paul; Jensen, Elsa; Kennedy, Megan R.; Krezoski, Gillian; Krysak, Daniel; Lipkaman, Leslie; Malin, Michael; McCartney, Elaina; McNair, Sean; Nixon, Brian; Posiolova, Liliya; Ravine, Michael; Salamon, Andrew; Saper, Lee; Stoiber, Kevin; Supulver, Kimberley; Van Beek, Jason; Van Beek, Tessa; Zimdar, Robert; French, Katherine Louise; Iagnemma, Karl; Miller, Kristen; Summons, Roger; Goesmann, Fred; Goetz, Walter; Hviid, Stubbe; Johnson, Micah; Lefavor, Matthew; Lyness, Eric; Breves, Elly; Dyar, M. Darby; Fassett, Caleb; Blake, David F.; Bristow, Thomas; DesMarais, David; Edwards, Laurence; Haberle, Robert; Hoehler, Tori; Hollingsworth, Jeff; Kahre, Melinda; Keely, Leslie; McKay, Christopher; Wilhelm, Mary Beth; Bleacher, Lora; Brinckerhoff, William; Choi, David; Conrad, Pamela; Dworkin, Jason P.; Eigenbrode, Jennifer; Floyd, Melissa; Freissinet, Caroline; Garvin, James; Glavin, Daniel; Harpold, Daniel; Jones, Andrea; Mahaffy, Paul; Martin, David K.; McAdam, Amy; Pavlov, Alexander; Raaen, Eric; Smith, Michael D.; Stern, Jennifer; Tan, Florence; Trainer, Melissa; Meyer, Michael; Posner, Arik; Voytek, Mary; Anderson, Robert C; Aubrey, Andrew; Beegle, Luther W.; Behar, Alberto; Blaney, Diana; Brinza, David; Calef, Fred; Christensen, Lance; Crisp, Joy A.; DeFlores, Lauren; Ehlmann, Bethany; Feldman, Jason; Feldman, Sabrina; Flesch, Gregory; Hurowitz, Joel; Jun, Insoo; Keymeulen, Didier; Maki, Justin; Mischna, Michael; Morookian, John Michael; Parker, Timothy; Pavri, Betina; Schoppers, Marcel; Sengstacken, Aaron; Simmonds, John J.; Spanovich, Nicole; Juarez, Manuel de la Torre; Vasavada, Ashwin R.; Webster, Christopher R.; Yen, Albert; Archer, Paul Douglas; Cucinotta, Francis; Jones, John H.; Ming, Douglas; Morris, Richard V.; Niles, Paul; Rampe, Elizabeth; Nolan, Thomas; Fisk, Martin; Radziemski, Leon; Barraclough, Bruce; Bender, Steve; Berman, Daniel; Dobrea, Eldar Noe; Tokar, Robert; Vaniman, David; Williams, Rebecca M. E.; Yingst, Aileen; Lewis, Kevin; Leshin, Laurie; Cleghorn, Timothy; Huntress, Wesley; Manhès, Gérard; Hudgins, Judy; Olson, Timothy; Stewart, Noel; Sarrazin, Philippe; Grant, John; Vicenzi, Edward; Wilson, Sharon A.; Bullock, Mark; Ehresmann, Bent; Hamilton, Victoria; Hassler, Donald; Peterson, Joseph; Rafkin, Scot; Zeitlin, Cary; Fedosov, Fedor; Golovin, Dmitry; Karpushkina, Natalya; Kozyrev, Alexander; Litvak, Maxim; Malakhov, Alexey; Mitrofanov, Igor; Mokrousov, Maxim; Nikiforov, Sergey; Prokhorov, Vasily; Sanin, Anton; Tretyakov, Vladislav; Varenikov, Alexey; Vostrukhin, Andrey; Kuzmin, Ruslan; Clark, Benton; Wolff, Michael; McLennan, Scott; Botta, Oliver; Drake, Darrell; Bean, Keri; Lemmon, Mark; Schwenzer, Susanne P.; Anderson, Ryan B.; Herkenhoff, Kenneth; Lee, Ella Mae; Sucharski, Robert; Hernández, Miguel Ángel de Pablo; Ávalos, Juan José Blanco; Ramos, Miguel; Kim, Myung-Hee; Malespin, Charles; Plante, Ianik; Muller, Jan-Peter; Navarro-González, Rafael; Ewing, Ryan; Boynton, William; Downs, Robert; Fitzgibbon, Mike; Harshman, Karl; Morrison, Shaunna; Dietrich, William; Kortmann, Onno; Palucis, Marisa; Sumner, Dawn Y.; Williams, Amy; Lugmair, Günter; Wilson, Michael A.; Rubin, David; Jakosky, Bruce; Balic-Zunic, Tonci; Frydenvang, Jens; Jensen, Jaqueline Kløvgaard; Kinch, Kjartan; Koefoed, Asmus; Madsen, Morten Bo; Stipp, Susan Louise Svane; Boyd, Nick; Campbell, John L.; Gellert, Ralf; Perrett, Glynis; Pradler, Irina; VanBommel, Scott; Jacob, Samantha; Owen, Tobias; Rowland, Scott; Atlaskin, Evgeny; Savijärvi, Hannu; Boehm, Eckart; Böttcher, Stephan; Burmeister, Sönke; Guo, Jingnan; Köhler, Jan; García, César Martín; Mueller-Mellin, Reinhold; Wimmer-Schweingruber, Robert; Bridges, John C.; McConnochie, Timothy; Benna, Mehdi; Franz, Heather; Bower, Hannah; Brunner, Anna; Blau, Hannah; Boucher, Thomas; Carmosino, Marco; Atreya, Sushil; Elliott, Harvey; Halleaux, Douglas; Rennó, Nilton; Wong, Michael; Pepin, Robert; Elliott, Beverley; Spray, John; Thompson, Lucy; Gordon, Suzanne; Newsom, Horton; Ollila, Ann; Williams, Joshua; Vasconcelos, Paulo; Bentz, Jennifer; Nealson, Kenneth; Popa, Radu; Kah, Linda C.; Moersch, Jeffrey; Tate, Christopher; Day, Mackenzie; Kocurek, Gary; Hallet, Bernard; Sletten, Ronald; Francis, Raymond; McCullough, Emily; Cloutis, Ed; ten Kate, Inge Loes; Kuzmin, Ruslan; Arvidson, Raymond; Fraeman, Abigail; Scholes, Daniel; Slavney, Susan; Stein, Thomas; Ward, Jennifer; Berger, Jeffrey; Moores, John E.

    2015-01-01

    The Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) investigation on the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Curiosity rover has detected oxidized nitrogen-bearing compounds during pyrolysis of scooped aeolian sediments and drilled sedimentary deposits within Gale crater. Total N concentrations ranged from 20 to 250 nmol N per sample. After subtraction of known N sources in SAM, our results support the equivalent of 110–300 ppm of nitrate in the Rocknest (RN) aeolian samples, and 70–260 and 330–1,100 ppm nitrate in John Klein (JK) and Cumberland (CB) mudstone deposits, respectively. Discovery of indigenous martian nitrogen in Mars surface materials has important implications for habitability and, specifically, for the potential evolution of a nitrogen cycle at some point in martian history. The detection of nitrate in both wind-drifted fines (RN) and in mudstone (JK, CB) is likely a result of N2 fixation to nitrate generated by thermal shock from impact or volcanic plume lightning on ancient Mars. Fixed nitrogen could have facilitated the development of a primitive nitrogen cycle on the surface of ancient Mars, potentially providing a biochemically accessible source of nitrogen. PMID:25831544

  6. Anisotropy effect of crater formation on single crystal silicon surface under intense pulsed ion beam irradiation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shen, Jie; Yu, Xiao; Zhang, Jie; Zhong, Haowen; Cui, Xiaojun; Liang, Guoying; Yu, Xiang; Huang, Wanying; Shahid, Ijaz; Zhang, Xiaofu; Yan, Sha; Le, Xiaoyun

    2018-04-01

    Due to the induced extremely fast thermal and dynamic process, Intense Pulsed Ion Beam (IPIB) is widely applied in material processing, which can bring enhanced material performance and surface craters as well. To investigate the craters' formation mechanism, a specific model was built with Finite Element Methods (FEM) to simulate the thermal field on irradiated single crystal silicon. The direct evidence for the existence of the simulated 6-fold rotational symmetric thermal distribution was provided by electron microscope images obtained on single crystal silicon. The correlation of the experiment and simulation is of great importance to understand the interaction between IPIB and materials.

  7. Buried Crater

    Science.gov (United States)

    2004-01-01

    29 September 2004 The circular feature in this Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image is the location of a buried impact crater in southern Noachis Terra near 55.4oS, 325.1oW. The image covers an area about 3 km (1.9 mi) across; thus the crater is roughly 2 km in diameter, or twice the size of the famous Meteor Crater in northern Arizona. A visitor to the Arizona Crater would be quite impressed by the height of its raised rims and the depth of and distance across its bowl, relative to a person. At the human scale It is challenging to imagine a crater twice that size that has been filled and buried by sediment and debris, yet the crater shown here is simply an example. On Mars, craters over 100 km in diameter have been buried, and some have been exhumed. This image is illuminated by sunlight from the upper left.

  8. High-Temperature, Perhaps Silicic, Volcanism on Mars Evidenced by Tridymite Detection in High-SiO2 Sedimentary Rock at Gale Crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Morris, R. V.; Vaniman, D. T.; Blake, D. F.; Gellert, R.; Chipera, S. J.; Rampe, E. B.; Ming, D. W.; Morrison, S. M.; Downs, R. T.; Treiman, A. H.; hide

    2016-01-01

    The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) rover, Curiosity, has been exploring sedimentary rocks within Gale crater since landing in August, 2012. On the lower slopes of Aeolis Mons (a.k.a. Mount Sharp), drill powder was collected from a high-silica (74 wt% SiO2) outcrop named Buckskin (BK). It was a surprise to find that the Buckskin sample contained significant amounts of the relatively rare silica polymorph tridymite. We describe the setting of the Buckskin sample, the detection of tridymite by the MSL Chemistry and Mineralogy (CheMin) X-ray diffraction instrument, and detection implications. Geologic setting: The Buckskin outcrop is part of the Murray formation exposed in the Marias Pass area. The formation was previously studied by CheMin in the Pahrump Hills member [1] where three samples of drill fines were analyzed (Confidence Hills (CH), Mojave2 (MJ) and Telegraph Peak (TP) [2]). Assuming approximately horizontal bedding, the Buckskin outcrop is approx.15 m stratigraphically above the bottom of the Pahrump Hills member. Mudstone, generally characterized by fine lamination, is the dominant depositional facies [1]. Buckskin Mineralogical and Chemical Composition: The CheMin instrument and XRD pattern analysis procedures have been previously discussed [3-6]. The diffraction pattern used for quantitative XRD analysis (Fig. 1) is the sum of the first 4 of 45 diffraction images. The remaining images are all characterized by both on-ring and off-ring diffraction spots that we attributed to poor grain motion and particle clumping. Coincident with particle clumping was a significant decrease in the intensity of the tridymite diffraction peaks (Fig. 2a). The derived mineralogical composition of the crystalline component (derived from the first 4 diffraction images) is given in Table 1. The tridymite is well-crystalline and its pattern is refined as monoclinic tridymite (Fig 1). Mineral chemical compositions were derived from XRD unit cell parameters or obtained from

  9. Wind-blown sandstones cemented by sulfate and clay minerals in Gale Crater, Mars

    OpenAIRE

    Milliken, R. E.; Ewing, Ryan C.; Fischer, W. W.; Hurowitz, J.

    2014-01-01

    Gale Crater contains Mount Sharp, a ~5km thick stratigraphic record of Mars’ early environmental history. The strata comprising Mount Sharp are believed to be sedimentary in origin, but the specific depositional environments recorded by the rocks remain speculative. We present orbital evidence for the occurrence of eolian sandstones within Gale Crater and the lower reaches of Mount Sharp, including preservation of wind-blown sand dune topography in sedimentary strata—a phenomenon ...

  10. Terrestrial Analogs for Clay Minerals at Yellowknife Bay, Gale Crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Treiman, Allan H; Morris, Richard V.; Bristow, Thomas; Ming, Douglas W.; Achillies, Cherie; Bish, David L.; Blake, David; Vaniman, David; Chipera, Steve

    2013-01-01

    Sediments of the Sheepbed unit, Gale Crater, were analyzed by the CheMin X-ray diffraction instrument on the Curiosity Rover. The sediments consist of typical basalt minerals (Fe-forsterite, augite, pigeonite, plagioclase), as well as Fe oxide/hydroxides, Fesulfides, amorphous material, and a phyllosilicate. The phyllosilicate has a broad 001 peak at approx 1.0 nm, consistent with a poorly ordered smectite. However, in the absence of diagnostic tests possible on Earth, its identity is not clear. The position of the 06L diffraction band is generally used to distinguish dioctahedral from trioctahedral smectite, but it is beyond CheMin's range of 2 Theta. The measured position of the 02L diffraction band (approx 22.5deg 2 Theta by CheMin), implies that the smectite is trioctahedral. The exact position and shape of the 02L band is determined by the cations in the 'M' sites of the smectite; to constrain those cations, we sought analogs among terrestrial smectites, emphasizing those developed from basaltic precursors. A potential analog for the Sheepbed smectite is 'griffithite,' a variety of trioctahedral smectite in altered basalt of the Topanga formation, Griffith Park, Los Angeles. 'Griffithite' has an 02L diffraction band that is close in position and shape to that of the Sheepbed smectite, although 'griffithite' has a very sharp 001 peak, indicating a high degree of layer ordering not seen in the Sheepbed smectite. A typical chemical formula for 'griffithite,' determined by electron microprobe, is (Ca0.59 Na0.03) (Mg4.28 Fe1.83) (Si6.64 Al1.36) O20 (OH)4, normalized to Si+Al=8. This formula is consistent with a fully trioctahedral Fe-Mg smectite with Ca and Na as interlayer cations. In the Topanga basalt, four types of 'griffithite' are present: fine-grained, filling cracks and vesicles; coarse-grained, filling vesicles; coarse-grained, replacing olivine phenocrysts; and coarse-grained, replacing glassy mesostasis. The fine-grained 'griffithite' formed first, and

  11. Phosphate Stability in Diagenetic Fluids Constrains the Acidic Alteration Model for Lower Mt. Sharp Sedimentary Rocks in Gale Crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Berger, J. A.; Schmidt, M. E.; Izawa, M. R. M.; Gellert, R.; Ming, D. W.; Rampe, E. B.; VanBommel, S. J.; McAdam, A. C.

    2016-01-01

    The Mars rover Curiosity has encountered silica-enriched bedrock (as strata and as veins and associated halos of alteration) in the largely basaltic Murray Fm. of Mt. Sharp in Gale Crater. Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) investigations of the Murray Fm. revealed decreasing Mg, Ca, Mn, Fe, and Al, and higher S, as silica increased (Fig. 1). A positive correlation between SiO2 and TiO2 (up to 74.4 and 1.7 wt %, respectively) suggests that these two insoluble elements were retained while acidic fluids leached more soluble elements. Other evidence also supports a silica-retaining, acidic alteration model for the Murray Fm., including low trace element abundances consistent with leaching, and the presence of opaline silica and jarosite determined by CheMin. Phosphate stability is a key component of this model because PO4 3- is typically soluble in acidic water and is likely a mobile ion in diagenetic fluids (pH less than 5). However, the Murray rocks are not leached of P; they have variable P2O5 (Fig. 1) ranging from average Mars (0.9 wt%) up to the highest values in Gale Crater (2.5 wt%). Here we evaluate APXS measurements of Murray Fm. bedrock and veins with respect to phosphate stability in acidic fluids as a test of the acidic alteration model for the Lower Mt. Sharp rocks.

  12. Germanium Enrichments in Sedimentary Rocks in Gale Crater, Mars: Constraining the Timing of Alteration and Character of the Protolith

    Science.gov (United States)

    Berger, J. A.; Schmidt, M. E.; Gellert, R.; Campbell, J. L.; Boyd, N. I.; Elliott, B. E.; Fisk, M. R.; King, P. L.; Ming, D. W.; Perrett, G. M.; hide

    2015-01-01

    Rocks enriched in Ge have been discovered in Gale Crater, Mars, by the Alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer (APXS) on the Mars Science Lab (MSL) rover, Curiosity. The Ge concentrations in Gale Crater (commonly >50 ppm) are remarkably high in comparison to Earth, where Ge ranges from 0.5-4.0 ppm in igneous rocks and 0.2-3.3 ppm in siliciclastic sediment. Primary meteoritic input is not likely the source of high Ge because Ge/Ni in chondrites (approx.0.003) and irons (rocks (0.08-0.2). Earth studies show Ge is a useful geochemical tracer because it is coherent with Si during magmatic processes and Ge/Si varies less than 20% in basalts. Ge and Si fractionate during soil/regolith weathering, with Ge preferentially sequestered in clays. Ge is also concentrated in Cu- and Zn-rich hydrothermal sulfide deposits and Fe- and Mnrich oxide deposits. Other fluid-mobile elements (K, Zn, Cl, Br, S) are also enriched at Gale and further constrain aqueous alteration processes. Here, we interpret the sediment alteration history and present a possible model for Ge enrichments at Gale involving fluid alteration of the protolith.

  13. Geology of Holden Crater and the Holden and Ladon Multi-Ring Impact Basins, Margaritifer Terra, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Irwin, R. P., III; Grant, J. A.

    2008-01-01

    Geologic mapping at 1:500K scale of Mars quads 15s027, 20s027, 25s027, and 25s032 (Fig. 1) is in progress to constrain the geologic and geomorphic history of southwestern Margaritifer Terra. This work builds on earlier maps at 1:5M [1] and 1:15M scales [2], recent to concurrent 1:500Kscale mapping of adjacent areas to the east [3-5], and studies of drainage basin evolution along the Uzboi-Ladon-M (ULM; the third valley in the sequence has no formal name) Valles basin overflow system and nearby watersheds [6-9]. Two of the six landing sites under consideration for the Mars Science Laboratory rover are in this map area, targeting finely layered, phyllosilicate-rich strata and alluvial fans in Holden crater [10-12] (26degS, 34degW, 150 km diameter) or deposits southeast of a likely delta in Eberswalde crater [13-16] (24degS, 33degW, 50 km in diameter). Diverse processes including larger and smaller impacts, a wide range in fluvial activity, and local to regional structural influences have all affected the surface morphology.

  14. Gully formation on Mars: Two recent phases of formation suggested by links between morphology, slope orientation and insolation history

    Science.gov (United States)

    Morgan, Gareth A.; Head, James W.; Forget, François; Madeleine, Jean-Baptiste; Spiga, Aymeric

    2010-08-01

    The unusual 80 km diameter Noachian-aged Asimov crater in Noachis Terra (46°S, 5°E) is characterized by extensive Noachian-Hesperian crater fill and a younger superposed annulus of valleys encircling the margins of the crater floor. These valleys provide an opportunity to study the relationships of gully geomorphology as a function of changing slope orientation relative to solar insolation. We found that the level of development of gullies was highly correlated with slope orientation and solar insolation. The largest and most complex gully systems, with the most well-developed fluvial landforms, are restricted to pole-facing slopes. In contrast, gullies on equator-facing slopes are smaller, more poorly developed and integrated, more highly degraded, and contain more impact craters. We used a 1D version of the Laboratoire de Météorologie Dynamique GCM, and slope geometries (orientation and angle), driven by predicted spin-axis/orbital parameter history, to assess the distribution and history of surface temperatures in these valleys during recent geological history. Surface temperatures on pole-facing slopes preferential for water ice accumulation and subsequent melting are predicted to occur as recently as 0.5-2.1 Ma, which is consistent with age estimates of gully activity elsewhere on Mars. In contrast, the 1D model predicts that water ice cannot accumulate on equator-facing slopes until obliquities exceed 45°, suggesting they are unlikely to have been active over the last 5 Ma. The correlation of the temperature predictions and the geological evidence for age differences suggests that there were two phases of gully formation in the last few million years: an older phase in which top-down melting occurred on equator-facing slopes and a younger more robust phase on pole-facing slopes. The similarities of small-scale fluvial erosion features seen in the gullies on Mars and those observed in gullies cut by seasonal and perennial snowmelt in the Antarctic Dry

  15. Griffith Saponite as an Analog for Clay Minerals at Yellowknife Bay in Gale Crater, Mars: A Marker for Low-temperature Hydrothermal Processes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Morris, R.V.; Treiman, A. H.; Agresti, D. G.; Graff, T. G.; Achilles, C. N.; Rampe, E. B.; Bristow, T. F.; Ming, D. W.; Blake, D. F.; Vaniman, D. T.; hide

    2014-01-01

    The CheMin X-ray diffraction (XRD) instrument onboard the Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity in Gale Crater, Mars, discovered smectite in drill fines of the Sheepbed mudstone at Yellowknife Bay (YNB). The mudstone has a basaltic composition, and the XRD powder diffraction pattern shows smectite 02l diffraction bands peaking at 4.59 A for targets John Klein and Cumberland, consistent with tri-octahedral smectites (saponite). From thermal analysis, the saponite abundance is 20 wt. %. Among terrestrial analogues we have studied, ferrian saponite from Griffith Park (Los Angeles, CA) gives the best match to the position of the 02l diffraction band of YNB saponites. Here we describe iron-rich saponites from a terrestrial perspective, with a focus on Griffith saponite, and discuss their implications for the mineralogy of Sheepbed saponite and its formation pathways. Iron-rich saponite: Iron-rich saponite on the Earth is recognized as a low-temperature ( 0.90) have somewhat smaller 02l d-spacings and also show Mossbauer evidence for an XRD amorphous Fe-bearing phase (e.g., ferrihydrite, hisingerite, superparamagnetic ferric oxides, etc.). The Griffith saponite occurs as vesicle fills, as replacements of olivine, and as replacements of mesostasis (basaltic glass). Similar occurrence modes are reported elsewhere. Hisingerite has been proposed by [13] as the alteration product of ferrian saponite whose precursor by oxidation was ferrosaponite.

  16. Oxychlorine and Chloride/Ferrian Saponite Mixtures as a Possible Source of Hydrochloric Acid Detected by the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) Instrument in Gale Crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hogancamp, J. V.; Sutter, B.; Archer, D., Jr.; Ming, D. W.; Mahaffy, P. R.

    2017-12-01

    The Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument on board the Curiosity Rover has detected HCl gas releases from several analyzed Gale Crater sediments, which are attributed to the presence of perchlorates, chlorates, and/or chlorides in martian sediment. Previous SAM analog laboratory analyses found that most pure perchlorates and chlorates produced HCl at different temperatures than those observed in the SAM data. Subsequent studies examined the effects of perchlorate and chlorate mixtures with Gale Crater analog iron phases, which are known to catalyze oxychlorine decomposition. Several mixtures produced characteristic O2 releases at similar temperatures as Gale Crater materials, but most of these mixtures did not produce HCl releases comparable to those detected by the SAM instrument. Perchlorates, chlorates, and chlorides were mixed with Gale Crater analog ferrian saponite to understand evolved HCl detected by SAM. Evolved water from thermally decomposing saponite is hypothesized to react with residual chloride phases from oxychlorine decomposition to produce high temperature (>700°C) HCl. Mixtures of chlorates, perchlorates, or chlorides with ferrian saponite were heated to 1000 °C in a laboratory analog SAM instrument. Results demonstrated that all chlorate and perchlorate mixtures produce HCl releases below 1000 °C when mixed with ferrian saponite. Mixtures of chlorides with ferrian saponite produced no oxygen releases but did produce HCl releases with peaks below 1000 °C. Ferrian saponite/Mg-chlorate mixtures produced two HCl releases (347 and 820 °C) similar to the Cumberland drilled sample. Additionally, sodium chloride mixed with ferrian saponite produced no oxygen releases and an HCl release (767 °C) similar to the Quela drilled sample. The Marimba drilled sample, which also produced no oxychlorine-derived oxygen, produced a high temperature HCl release that may be the result of chloride(s) reacting with evolved water from thermally decomposing

  17. Nano-crater Formation on Electrodes during the Electrical Charging of Aqueous Droplets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Elton, Eric; Rosenberg, Ethan; Ristenpart, William

    2015-11-01

    A water drop in an insulating fluid acquires charge when it contacts an electrode, but the exact mechanism of charge transfer has remained obscure. Previous work, dating back to Maxwell, has implicitly assumed that the electrode remains unaltered by the charging process. Here we demonstrate that, contrary to this assumption, water drops and other conducting objects create ``nano-craters'' on the electrode surface during the charging process. We used optical microscopy, SEM, and atomic force microscopy to characterize the electrode surfaces before and after water drops were electrically bounced on them. We show that each drop contact creates an approximately micron wide and 30-nm deep crater to form on the electrode surface. Given enough time, the drop will form enough nano-craters to effectively `eat through' a sufficiently thin electrode. We discuss possible physical mechanisms for the nano-crater formation, including localized melting caused by Joule heating during the charge transfer event. The observations reported here are of particular interest in the development of microfluidic devices that use thin film electrodes to control the motion of aqueous drops.

  18. Use of Geochemistry Data Collected by the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit in Gusev Crater to Teach Geomorphic Zonation through Principal Components Analysis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rodrigue, Christine M.

    2011-01-01

    This paper presents a laboratory exercise used to teach principal components analysis (PCA) as a means of surface zonation. The lab was built around abundance data for 16 oxides and elements collected by the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit in Gusev Crater between Sol 14 and Sol 470. Students used PCA to reduce 15 of these into 3 components, which,…

  19. The Investigation of Perchlorate/Iron Phase Mixtures as A Possible Source of Oxygen Detected by the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) Instrument in Gale Crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sutter, B.; Heil, E.; Morris, R. V.; Archer, P. D.; Ming, D. W.; Niles, P. B.; Eigenbrode, J. L.; Franz, H.; Freissinet C.; Glavin, D. P.; hide

    2015-01-01

    The Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument onboard the Curiosity rover detected O2 and HCl gas releases from the Rocknest (RN) eolian bedform and the John Klein (JK) and Cumberland (CB) drill hole materials in Gale Crater. Chlorinated hydrocarbons have also been detected by the SAM quadrupole mass spectrometer (QMS) and gas chromatography/mass spectrometer (GCMS). These detections along with the detection of perchlorate (ClO4-) by the Mars Phoenix Lander's Wet Chemistry Laboratory (WCL) suggesting perchlorate is a possible candidate for evolved O2 and chlorine species. Laboratory thermal analysis of individual per-chlorates has yet to provide an unequivocal temperature match to the SAM O2 and HCl release data. These detections along with the detection of perchlorate (ClO4-) by the Mars Phoenix Lander's Wet Chemistry Laboratory suggested perchlorate is a possible candidate for evolved O2 and chlorine species. Laboratory thermal analysis of pure perchlorates has yet to provide an unequivocal temperature match to the SAM O2 and HCl release data. Analog laboratory analysis of iron mineralogy detected in Gale materials that was physically mixed with Ca- and Mg-perchlorate has been shown to catalyze lower O2 release temperatures and approach some SAM O2 release data. Instead of physical mixtures used in previous work, the work presented here utilized perchlorate solutions added to Fe phases. This technique allowed for perchlorate to come in closer contact with the Fe-phase and may more closely mimic Mars conditions where humidity can increase enough to cause deliquescence of the highly hygroscopic perchlorate phases. The objective of this work is to: 1) Utilize a laboratory SAM analog instrument to evaluate the O2 release temperatures from Mg- and Ca-perchlorates solutions applied to Fephases detetected in Gale Crate; and 2) Determine if perchlorate solutions can provide improved matches with the SAM O2 temperature release profiles.

  20. The Distribution of Subsurface Water at Hadriaca and Tyrrhena Paterae and Surrounding Areas on Mars from Impact Crater Morphology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lancaster, M. G.; Guest, J. E.

    1996-03-01

    It is well established that the surface of Mars exhibits abundant evidence for the presence of either liquid or frozen water during the course of Martian history. The origin, location, extent and transport of this water is of critical importance in the understanding of Martian geology and climate. In particular, the fluid appearance of rampart crater ejecta has been cited as evidence for subsurface ice at the time of impact. Ejecta morphology has proven to be a useful tool for studying the distribution of subsurface ice on Mars. It is possible that in some regions the concentration and distribution of subsurface ice has been affected by volcanic processes, either in the melting and/or mobilisation of existing subsurface water, and/or in the injection of juvenile water into the martian crust. The presence of water may also have affected the style of volcanic eruptions on Mars, increasing the volatile content of rising magmas and generating explosive activity. We are currently investigating the abundance and role of water in the evolution of the volcanoes Hadriaca and Tyrrhena Patera and surrounding highlands northeast of the Hellas Basin. The morphology of these volcanoes has been attributed to explosive volcanism, and to the presence of substantial amounts of water in the regolith at the time of their eruption. The location of Hadriaca Patera in a region containing channelled plains, debris flows, and pitted plains, together with the style of erosion of the volcano flanks suggests presence of volatile-rich surface materials or fluvial or periglacial activity. This work is a continuation of research undertaken by Cave in the Elysium Mons Region, where ice was found to be enriched at depth in the Elysium Lavas. We are performing a similar analysis for the volcanics of Hadriaca and Tyrrhena Paterae. A database containing information on the location, size, morphology, ejecta characteristics and degradation state of several hundred impact craters displaying ejecta in

  1. Mars Exploration Rover Pancam Multispectral Imaging of Rocks, Soils, and Dust at Gusev Crater and Meridiani Planum. Chapter 13

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bell, J. F., III; Calvin, W. M.; Farrand, W.; Greeley, R.; Johnson, J. R.; Jolliff, B.; Morris, R. V.; Sullivan, R. J.; Thompson, S.; Wang, A.; hide

    2007-01-01

    Multispectral imaging from the Panoramic Camera (Pancam) instruments on the Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity has provided important new insights about the geology and geologic history of the rover landing sites and traverse locations in Gusev crater and Meridiani Planum. Pancam observations from near-UV to near-IR wavelengths provide limited compositional and mineralogic constraints on the presence abundance, and physical properties of ferric- and ferrous-iron bearing minerals in rocks, soils, and dust at both sites. High resolution and stereo morphologic observations have also helped to infer some aspects of the composition of these materials at both sites. Perhaps most importantly, Pancam observations were often efficiently and effectively used to discover and select the relatively small number of places where in situ measurements were performed by the rover instruments, thus supporting and enabling the much more quantitative mineralogic discoveries made using elemental chemistry and mineralogy data. This chapter summarizes the major compositionally- and mineralogically-relevant results at Gusev and Meridiani derived from Pancam observations. Classes of materials encountered in Gusev crater include outcrop rocks, float rocks, cobbles, clasts, soils, dust, rock grindings, rock coatings, windblown drift deposits, and exhumed whitish/yellowish salty soils. Materials studied in Meridiani Planum include sedimentary outcrop rocks, rock rinds, fracture fills, hematite spherules, cobbles, rock fragments, meteorites, soils, and windblown drift deposits. This chapter also previews the results of a number of coordinated observations between Pancam and other rover-based and Mars-orbital instruments that were designed to provide complementary new information and constraints on the mineralogy and physical properties of martian surface materials.

  2. Zinc and germanium in the sedimentary rocks of Gale Crater on Mars indicate hydrothermal enrichment followed by diagenetic fractionation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Berger, Jeff A.; Schmidt, Mariek E.; Gellert, Ralf; Boyd, Nicholas I.; Desouza, Elstan D.; Flemming, Roberta L.; Izawa, Matthew R. M.; Ming, Douglas W.; Perrett, Glynis M.; Rampe, Elizabeth B.; Thompson, Lucy M.; VanBommel, Scott J. V.; Yen, Albert S.

    2017-08-01

    Zinc and germanium enrichments have been discovered in sedimentary rocks in Gale Crater, Mars, by the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer on the rover Curiosity. Concentrations of Zn (910 ± 840 ppm) and Ge (65 ± 58 ppm) are tens to hundreds of times greater than in Martian meteorites and estimates for average silicate Mars. Enrichments occur in diverse rocks including minimally to extensively altered basaltic and alkalic sedimentary rocks. The magnitude of the enrichments indicates hydrothermal fluids, but Curiosity has not discovered unambiguous hydrothermal mineral assemblages. We propose that Zn- and Ge-rich hydrothermal deposits in the source region were dispersed in siliciclastic sediments during transport into the crater. Subsequent diagenetic mobilization and fractionation of Zn and Ge is evident in a Zn-rich sandstone (Windjana; Zn 4000 ppm, Ge 85 ppm) and associated Cl-rich vein (Stephen; Zn 8000 ppm, Ge 60 ppm), in Ge-rich veins (Garden City; Zn 2200 ppm, Ge 650 ppm), and in silica-rich alteration haloes leached of Zn (30-200 ppm). In moderately to highly altered silica-rich rocks, Ge remained immobile relative to leached elements (Fe, Mn, Mg, and Ca), consistent with fluid interaction at pH ≪ 7. In contrast, crosscutting Ge-rich veins at Garden City suggest aqueous mobilization as Ge-F complexes at pH < 2.5. Multiple jarosite detections by the CheMin X-ray diffractometer and variable Zn concentrations indicate diagenesis of lower Mount Sharp bedrock under acidic conditions. The enrichment and fractionation of Zn and Ge constrains fluid events affecting Gale sediments and can aid in unraveling fluid histories as Curiosity's traverse continues.

  3. Detailed geological mapping of the fluvial deposits in Magong crater, Xanthe Terra, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Knade, J.; Hauber, E.; Platz, T.; Le Deit, L.; Kinch, K.

    2017-09-01

    We present a detailed geological map of a layered sedimentary deposit at the terminus of Sabrina Vallis in Xanthe Terra, Mars. This location shows diverse sedimentary and volcanic features which makes it an attractive place for future exploration, including rovers.

  4. Secrets of the Wabar craters

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wynn, Jeffrey C.; Shoemaker, Eugene M.

    1997-01-01

    Focuses on the existence of craters in the Empty Quarter of Saudi Arabia created by the impact of meteors in early times. Mars Pathfinder and Mars Global Surveyor's encounter with impact craters; Elimination of craters in the Earth's surface by the action of natural elements; Impact sites' demand for careful scientific inspections; Location of the impact sites.

  5. The Sample at Mars Analysis (SAM) Detections of CO2 and CO in Sedimentary Material from Gale Crater, Mars: Implications for the Presence of Organic Carbon and Microbial Habitability on Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sutter, Brad; Eigenbrode, Jennifer L.; Steele, Andrew; Ming, Douglas W.

    2016-01-01

    Sedimentary rock samples heated to 860 degrees Centigrade in the SAM (Sample at Mars) instrument evolved CO2 and CO indicating the presence of organic-carbon(C) in Gale Crater materials. Martian or exogenous (meteoritic, interplanetary dust) CO2 and CO could be derived from combustion of simple organics (less than 300 degrees Centigrade), complex refractory organics/amorphous carbon (300-600 degrees Centigrade), and/or magmatic carbon (greater than 600 degrees Centigrade) as result of thermal decomposition of Gale Crater perchlorates, and sulfates present that produce O2. Oxidized organic compounds could also evolve CO2 and CO over broad temperature range (150 to 800 degrees Centigrade) and such organics are expected on Mars via exogenous sources. Alternatively, organic-C could also have been oxidized to carboxylic acids [e.g, mellitic acid (RCOOH), acetate (CH3CO2-), and oxalates (C2O42-)] by oxidative radiolytic weathering, or other oxidation processes. The presence of oxidized organics is consistent with the limited detection of reduced organic-C phases by the SAM-gas chromatography. Organic-C content as determined by CO2 and CO contents could range between 800 and 2400 parts per million C indicating that substantial organic-C component is present in Gale Crater. There are contributions from SAM background however, even in worst-case scenarios, this would only account for as much as half of the detected CO2 and CO. Nevertheless, if organic-C levels were assumed to have existed in a reduced form on ancient Mars and this was bioavailable C, then less than 1 percent of C in Gale Crater sediments could have supported an exclusively heterotrophic microbial population of 1 by 10 (sup 5) cells per gram sediment (assumes 9 by 10 (sup -7) microgram per cell and 0.5 micrograms C per microgram cell). While other essential nutrients (e.g., S and P) could be limiting, organic-C contents, may have been sufficient to support limited heterotrophic microbial populations on

  6. Cratering record in the inner solar system: Implications for earth

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Barlow, N.G.

    1988-01-01

    Internal and external processes have reworked the Earth's surface throughout its history. In particular, the effect of meteorite impacts on the early history of the earth is lost due to fluvial, aeolian, volcanic and plate tectonic action. The cratering record on other inner solar system bodies often provides the only clue to the relative cratering rates and intensities that the earth has experienced throughout its history. Of the five major bodies within the inner solar system, Mercury, Mars, and the Moon retain scars of an early episode of high impact rates. The heavily cratered regions on Mercury, Mars, and the Moon show crater size-frequency distribution curves similar in shape and crater density, whereas the lightly cratered plains on the Moon and Mars show distribution curves which, although similar to each other, are statistically different in shape and density from the more heavily cratered units. The similarities among crater size-frequency distribution curves for the Moon, Mercury, and Mars suggest that the entire inner solar system was subjected to the two populations of impacting objects but Earth and Venus have lost their record of heavy bombardment impactors. Thus, based on the cratering record on the Moon, Mercury, and Mars, it can be inferred that the Earth experienced a period of high crater rates and basin formation prior to about 3.8 BY ago. Recent studies have linked mass extinctions to large terrestrial impacts, so life forms were unable to establish themselves until impact rates decreased substantially and terrestrial conditions became more benign. The possible periodicity of mass extinctions has led to the theory of fluctuating impact rates due to comet showers in the post heavy bombardment period. The active erosional environment on the Earth complicates attempts to verify these showers by erasing geological evidence of older impact craters

  7. The Effect of Gamma Radiation on Mars Mineral Matrices: Implications for Perchlorate Formation on Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fox, A. C.; Eigenbrode, J. L.; Pavlov, A.; Lewis, J.

    2017-12-01

    Observations by the Phoenix Wet Chemistry Lab of the Martian surface indicate the presence of perchlorate in high concentrations. Additional observations by the Sample Analysis at Mars and the Viking Landers indirectly support the presence of perchlorate at other localities on Mars. The evidence for perchlorate at several localities on Mars coupled with its detection in Martian meteorite EETA79001 suggests that perchlorate is present globally on Mars. The presence of perchlorate on Mars further complicates the search for organic molecules indicative of past life. While perchlorate is kinetically limited in Martian conditions, the intermediate species associated with its formation or decomposition, such as chlorate or chlorite, could oxidize Martian organic species. As a result, it is vital to understand the mechanism of perchlorate formation on Mars in order to determine its role in the degradation of organics. Here, we explore an alternate mechanism of formation of perchlorate by bombarding Cl-salts and Mars-relevant mineral mixtures with gamma radiation both with and without the presence of liquid water, under vacuum. Previous work has shown that OClO can form from both UV radiation and energetic electrons bombardment of Cl-ices or Cl-salts, which then reacts with either OH- or O-radicals to produce perchlorate. Past research has suggested that liquid water or ice is the source of these hydroxyl and oxygen radicals, which limits the location of perchlorate formation on Mars. We demonstrate that trace amounts of perchlorate are potentially formed in samples containing silica dioxide or iron oxide and Cl-salts both with and without liquid water. Perchlorate was also detected in a portion of samples that were not irradiated, suggesting possible contamination. We did not detect perchlorate in samples that contained sulfate minerals. If perchlorate was formed without liquid water, it is possible that oxide minerals could be a potential source of oxygen radicals

  8. Formation of Mesospheric Clouds on Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Plane, J. M. C.; Audouard, J.; Listowski, C.; Mangan, T.; Maattanen, A. E.; Montmessin, F.; Forget, F.; Millour, E.; Spiga, A.; Crismani, M. M. J.; Schneider, N. M.

    2017-12-01

    Martian Mesospheric Clouds (MMCs) are observed intermittently in the Martian atmosphere between 60 and 100 km, occurring particularly at low latitudes. The clouds consist mainly of CO2-ice particles around 1 mm in radius. Explaining the nucleation and growth of these particles is challenging: it has been assumed that - by analogy with polar mesospheric clouds in the terrestrial atmosphere - nucleation occurs on meteoric smoke particles (very small metal-silicate particles resulting from the condensation of the vapor produced by cosmic dust ablation). Indeed, 1D modeling of CO2 microphysics suggests that an exogenous source of nuclei is necessary to model CO2 MMCs, in agreement with observations in cold pockets produced by the coupling of gravity waves and thermal tides. However, a recent laboratory study has shown that smoke particles, which would be around 1 nm in size - require extremely high CO2 supersaturations to nucleate CO2 ice. Here we present an alternative picture of the nucleation of CO2-ice particles. The major meteoric metals - Mg and Fe - should form MgCO3 and FeCO3 molecules in the Mars atmosphere below 90 km. These molecules have enormous electric dipole moments (11.6 and 9.3 Debye, respectively), and so will immediately form stable clusters with 3 CO2 molecules, which then slowly exchange with H2O to produce hexa-hydrated carbonate molecules. These primary particles polymerize readily to form a background population of "dirty" water-ice particles. Using MAVEN-IUVS measurements of the background Mg+ ion layer to constrain the injection rates of Mg and Fe from meteoric ablation, and a 1D model of metal chemistry coupled to an aerosol coagulation model, we show that the population of these water-ice particles with radii greater than 10 nm should be around 200 cm-3 at 80 km, thus providing a population of effective CO2-ice nuclei. When these nuclei are input in the Laboratoire de Météorologie Dynamique (LMD) Mars GCM, first results show that they can

  9. Clay mineral formation under oxidized conditions and implications for paleoenvironments and organic preservation on Mars

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Gainey, Seth R.; Hausrath, Elisabeth M.; Adcock, Christopher T.; Tschauner, Oliver; Hurowitz, Joel A.; Ehlmann, Bethany L.; Xiao, Yuming; Bartlett, Courtney L. (CIW); (UNLV); (CIT); (SBU)

    2017-11-01

    Clay mineral-bearing locations have been targeted for martian exploration as potentially habitable environments and as possible repositories for the preservation of organic matter. Although organic matter has been detected at Gale Crater, Mars, its concentrations are lower than expected from meteoritic and indigenous igneous and hydrothermal reduced carbon. We conducted synthesis experiments motivated by the hypothesis that some clay mineral formation may have occurred under oxidized conditions conducive to the destruction of organics. Previous work has suggested that anoxic and/or reducing conditions are needed to synthesize the Fe-rich clay mineral nontronite at low temperatures. In contrast, our experiments demonstrated the rapid formation of Fe-rich clay minerals of variable crystallinity from aqueous Fe3+ with small amounts of aqueous Mg2+. Our results suggest that Fe-rich clay minerals such as nontronite can form rapidly under oxidized conditions, which could help explain low concentrations of organics within some smectite-containing rocks or sediments on Mars.

  10. The mineralogy and formation processes of Mars soil

    Science.gov (United States)

    Banin, Amos

    1992-01-01

    The mineralogical nature of Mars soil is far from being understood, nor are the formation time and weathering processes known. Quantitatively, the two major mineral-forming elements in Mars soil are silicon and iron, constituting 44 and 19 percent of the soils as SiO4 and Fe2O3, respectively. The silicate phases have been studied only briefly, mostly because of their limited spectral fingerprinting in the VIS and NIR. Much attention was given to the iron minerals in the soil, due to their pronounced absorption in the VIS and NIR, making them easily detectable by telescopic observations. The available information on Mars soil mineralogy, mostly obtained by remote sensing, is reviewed, and it is hypothesized that it leads to the suggestion that nanophase short-range-order (amorphous) phases of the silicates and iron oxides abound in the soil.

  11. Areal and time distributions of volcanic formations on Mars

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Katterfeld, G.N.; Vityaz, V.I.

    1987-01-01

    The analysis of igneous rock distribution has been fulfilled on the basis of the geomorphological map of Mars at scale 1:5,000,000, according to data obtained from interpretation of 1:2,000,000 scale pictures of Mariner 9, Mars 4, Mars 5, Viking 1 and 2. Areological areas are listed as having been distinguished as the stratigraphic basis for a martian time scale. The area of volcanic eruptions and the number of eruptive centers are calculated on 10 x 10 deg cells and for each areological eras. The largest area of eruptive happening at different times is related with Tharsis tectonic uplift. The study of distribution of igneous rock area and volcanic centers number on 10 deg sectors and zones revealed the concentration belts of volcanic formations

  12. Weathering Profiles in Phosphorus-Rich Rocks at Gusev Crater, Mars, Suggest Dissolution of Phosphate Minerals into Potentially Habitable Near-Neutral Waters.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Adcock, Christopher T; Hausrath, Elisabeth M

    2015-12-01

    Abundant evidence indicates that significant surface and near-surface liquid water has existed on Mars in the past. Evaluating the potential for habitable environments on Mars requires an understanding of the chemical and physical conditions that prevailed in such aqueous environments. Among the geological features that may hold evidence of past environmental conditions on Mars are weathering profiles, such as those in the phosphorus-rich Wishstone-class rocks in Gusev Crater. The weathering profiles in these rocks indicate that a Ca-phosphate mineral has been lost during past aqueous interactions. The high phosphorus content of these rocks and potential release of phosphorus during aqueous interactions also make them of astrobiological interest, as phosphorus is among the elements required for all known life. In this work, we used Mars mission data, laboratory-derived kinetic and thermodynamic data, and data from terrestrial analogues, including phosphorus-rich basalts from Idaho, to model a conceptualized Wishstone-class rock using the reactive transport code CrunchFlow. Modeling results most consistent with the weathering profiles in Wishstone-class rocks suggest a combination of chemical and physical erosion and past aqueous interactions with near-neutral waters. The modeling results also indicate that multiple Ca-phosphate minerals are likely in Wishstone-class rocks, consistent with observations of martian meteorites. These findings suggest that Gusev Crater experienced a near-neutral phosphate-bearing aqueous environment that may have been conducive to life on Mars in the past. Mars-Gusev Crater-Wishstone-Reactive transport modeling-CrunchFlow-Aqueous interactions-Neutral pH-Habitability.

  13. Water inventories on Earth and Mars: Clues to atmosphere formation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Carr, M. H.

    1992-01-01

    Water is distributed differently on Earth and on Mars and the differences may have implications for the accretion of the two planets and the formation of their atmospheres. The Earth's mantle appears to contain at least several times the water content of the Martian mantle even accounting for differences in plate tectonics. One explanation is that the Earth's surface melted during accretion, as a result of development of a steam atmosphere, thereby allowing impact-devolitalized water at the surface to dissolve into the Earth's interior. In contrast, because of Mars' smaller size and greater distance from the Sun, the Martian surface may not have melted, so that the devolatilized water could not dissolve into the surface. A second possibility is suggested by the siderophile elements in the Earth's mantle, which indicates the Earth acquired a volatile-rich veneer after the core formed. Mars may have acquired a late volatile-rich veneer, but it did not get folded into the interior as with the Earth, but instead remained as a water rich veneer. This perception of Mars with a wet surface but dry interior is consistent with our knowledge of Mars' geologic history.

  14. Elemental geochemistry of sedimentary rocks at Yellowknife Bay, Gale crater, Mars.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McLennan, S M; Anderson, R B; Bell, J F; Bridges, J C; Calef, F; Campbell, J L; Clark, B C; Clegg, S; Conrad, P; Cousin, A; Des Marais, D J; Dromart, G; Dyar, M D; Edgar, L A; Ehlmann, B L; Fabre, C; Forni, O; Gasnault, O; Gellert, R; Gordon, S; Grant, J A; Grotzinger, J P; Gupta, S; Herkenhoff, K E; Hurowitz, J A; King, P L; Le Mouélic, S; Leshin, L A; Léveillé, R; Lewis, K W; Mangold, N; Maurice, S; Ming, D W; Morris, R V; Nachon, M; Newsom, H E; Ollila, A M; Perrett, G M; Rice, M S; Schmidt, M E; Schwenzer, S P; Stack, K; Stolper, E M; Sumner, D Y; Treiman, A H; VanBommel, S; Vaniman, D T; Vasavada, A; Wiens, R C; Yingst, R A

    2014-01-24

    Sedimentary rocks examined by the Curiosity rover at Yellowknife Bay, Mars, were derived from sources that evolved from an approximately average martian crustal composition to one influenced by alkaline basalts. No evidence of chemical weathering is preserved, indicating arid, possibly cold, paleoclimates and rapid erosion and deposition. The absence of predicted geochemical variations indicates that magnetite and phyllosilicates formed by diagenesis under low-temperature, circumneutral pH, rock-dominated aqueous conditions. Analyses of diagenetic features (including concretions, raised ridges, and fractures) at high spatial resolution indicate that they are composed of iron- and halogen-rich components, magnesium-iron-chlorine-rich components, and hydrated calcium sulfates, respectively. Composition of a cross-cutting dike-like feature is consistent with sedimentary intrusion. The geochemistry of these sedimentary rocks provides further evidence for diverse depositional and diagenetic sedimentary environments during the early history of Mars.

  15. Elemental Geochemistry of Sedimentary Rocks at Yellowknife Bay, Gale Crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    McLennan, S. M.; Anderson, R. B.; Bell, J. F.; Bridges, J. C.; Calef, F.; Campbell, J. L.; Clark, B. C.; Clegg, S.; Conrad, P.; Cousin, A.; Des Marais, D. J.; Dromart, G.; Dyar, M. D.; Edgar, L. A.; Ehlmann, B. L.; Fabre, C.; Forni, O.; Gasnault, O.; Gellert, R.; Gordon, S.; Grant, J. A.; Grotzinger, J. P.; Gupta, S.; Herkenhoff, K. E.; Hurowitz, J. A.; King, P. L.; Le Mouélic, S.; Leshin, L. A.; Léveillé, R.; Lewis, K. W.; Mangold, N.; Maurice, S.; Ming, D. W.; Morris, R. V.; Nachon, M.; Newsom, H. E.; Ollila, A. M.; Perrett, G. M.; Rice, M. S.; Schmidt, M. E.; Schwenzer, S. P.; Stack, K.; Stolper, E. M.; Sumner, D. Y.; Treiman, A. H.; VanBommel, S.; Vaniman, D. T.; Vasavada, A.; Wiens, R. C.; Yingst, R. A.; Kemppinen, Osku; Bridges, Nathan; Johnson, Jeffrey R.; Minitti, Michelle; Cremers, David; Farmer, Jack; Godber, Austin; Wadhwa, Meenakshi; Wellington, Danika; McEwan, Ian; Newman, Claire; Richardson, Mark; Charpentier, Antoine; Peret, Laurent; Blank, Jennifer; Weigle, Gerald; Li, Shuai; Milliken, Ralph; Robertson, Kevin; Sun, Vivian; Baker, Michael; Edwards, Christopher; Farley, Kenneth; Griffes, Jennifer; Miller, Hayden; Newcombe, Megan; Pilorget, Cedric; Siebach, Kirsten; Brunet, Claude; Hipkin, Victoria; Marchand, Geneviève; Sánchez, Pablo Sobrón; Favot, Laurent; Cody, George; Steele, Andrew; Flückiger, Lorenzo; Lees, David; Nefian, Ara; Martin, Mildred; Gailhanou, Marc; Westall, Frances; Israël, Guy; Agard, Christophe; Baroukh, Julien; Donny, Christophe; Gaboriaud, Alain; Guillemot, Philippe; Lafaille, Vivian; Lorigny, Eric; Paillet, Alexis; Pérez, René; Saccoccio, Muriel; Yana, Charles; Armiens-Aparicio, Carlos; Rodríguez, Javier Caride; Blázquez, Isaías Carrasco; Gómez, Felipe Gómez; Gómez-Elvira, Javier; Hettrich, Sebastian; Malvitte, Alain Lepinette; Jiménez, Mercedes Marín; Martínez-Frías, Jesús; Martín-Soler, Javier; Martín-Torres, F. Javier; Jurado, Antonio Molina; Mora-Sotomayor, Luis; Caro, Guillermo Muñoz; López, Sara Navarro; Peinado-González, Verónica; Pla-García, Jorge; Manfredi, José Antonio Rodriguez; Romeral-Planelló, Julio José; Fuentes, Sara Alejandra Sans; Martinez, Eduardo Sebastian; Redondo, Josefina Torres; Urqui-O'Callaghan, Roser; Mier, María-Paz Zorzano; Chipera, Steve; Lacour, Jean-Luc; Mauchien, Patrick; Sirven, Jean-Baptiste; Manning, Heidi; Fairén, Alberto; Hayes, Alexander; Joseph, Jonathan; Squyres, Steven; Sullivan, Robert; Thomas, Peter; Dupont, Audrey; Lundberg, Angela; Melikechi, Noureddine; Mezzacappa, Alissa; DeMarines, Julia; Grinspoon, David; Reitz, Günther; Prats, Benito; Atlaskin, Evgeny; Genzer, Maria; Harri, Ari-Matti; Haukka, Harri; Kahanpää, Henrik; Kauhanen, Janne; Kemppinen, Osku; Paton, Mark; Polkko, Jouni; Schmidt, Walter; Siili, Tero; Wray, James; Wilhelm, Mary Beth; Poitrasson, Franck; Patel, Kiran; Gorevan, Stephen; Indyk, Stephen; Paulsen, Gale; Bish, David; Schieber, Juergen; Gondet, Brigitte; Langevin, Yves; Geffroy, Claude; Baratoux, David; Berger, Gilles; Cros, Alain; d'Uston, Claude; Lasue, Jérémie; Lee, Qiu-Mei; Meslin, Pierre-Yves; Pallier, Etienne; Parot, Yann; Pinet, Patrick; Schröder, Susanne; Toplis, Mike; Lewin, Éric; Brunner, Will; Heydari, Ezat; Achilles, Cherie; Oehler, Dorothy; Sutter, Brad; Cabane, Michel; Coscia, David; Israël, Guy; Szopa, Cyril; Robert, François; Sautter, Violaine; Buch, Arnaud; Stalport, Fabien; Coll, Patrice; François, Pascaline; Raulin, François; Teinturier, Samuel; Cameron, James; DeLapp, Dorothea; Dingler, Robert; Jackson, Ryan Steele; Johnstone, Stephen; Lanza, Nina; Little, Cynthia; Nelson, Tony; Williams, Richard B.; Jones, Andrea; Kirkland, Laurel; Baker, Burt; Cantor, Bruce; Caplinger, Michael; Davis, Scott; Duston, Brian; Edgett, Kenneth; Fay, Donald; Hardgrove, Craig; Harker, David; Herrera, Paul; Jensen, Elsa; Kennedy, Megan R.; Krezoski, Gillian; Krysak, Daniel; Lipkaman, Leslie; Malin, Michael; McCartney, Elaina; McNair, Sean; Nixon, Brian; Posiolova, Liliya; Ravine, Michael; Salamon, Andrew; Saper, Lee; Stoiber, Kevin; Supulver, Kimberley; Van Beek, Jason; Van Beek, Tessa; Zimdar, Robert; French, Katherine Louise; Iagnemma, Karl; Miller, Kristen; Summons, Roger; Goesmann, Fred; Goetz, Walter; Hviid, Stubbe; Johnson, Micah; Lefavor, Matthew; Lyness, Eric; Breves, Elly; Fassett, Caleb; Blake, David F.; Bristow, Thomas; Edwards, Laurence; Haberle, Robert; Hoehler, Tori; Hollingsworth, Jeff; Kahre, Melinda; Keely, Leslie; McKay, Christopher; Wilhelm, Mary Beth; Bleacher, Lora; Brinckerhoff, William; Choi, David; Dworkin, Jason P.; Eigenbrode, Jennifer; Floyd, Melissa; Freissinet, Caroline; Garvin, James; Glavin, Daniel; Harpold, Daniel; Jones, Andrea; Mahaffy, Paul; Martin, David K.; McAdam, Amy; Pavlov, Alexander; Raaen, Eric; Smith, Michael D.; Stern, Jennifer; Tan, Florence; Trainer, Melissa; Meyer, Michael; Posner, Arik; Voytek, Mary; Anderson, Robert C.; Aubrey, Andrew; Beegle, Luther W.; Behar, Alberto; Blaney, Diana; Brinza, David; Christensen, Lance; Crisp, Joy A.; DeFlores, Lauren; Ehlmann, Bethany; Feldman, Jason; Feldman, Sabrina; Flesch, Gregory; Jun, Insoo; Keymeulen, Didier; Maki, Justin; Mischna, Michael; Morookian, John Michael; Parker, Timothy; Pavri, Betina; Schoppers, Marcel; Sengstacken, Aaron; Simmonds, John J.; Spanovich, Nicole; Juarez, Manuel de la Torre; Webster, Christopher R.; Yen, Albert; Archer, Paul Douglas; Cucinotta, Francis; Jones, John H.; Niles, Paul; Rampe, Elizabeth; Nolan, Thomas; Fisk, Martin; Radziemski, Leon; Barraclough, Bruce; Bender, Steve; Berman, Daniel; Dobrea, Eldar Noe; Tokar, Robert; Williams, Rebecca M. E.; Cleghorn, Timothy; Huntress, Wesley; Manhès, Gérard; Hudgins, Judy; Olson, Timothy; Stewart, Noel; Sarrazin, Philippe; Vicenzi, Edward; Wilson, Sharon A.; Bullock, Mark; Ehresmann, Bent; Hamilton, Victoria; Hassler, Donald; Peterson, Joseph; Rafkin, Scot; Zeitlin, Cary; Fedosov, Fedor; Golovin, Dmitry; Karpushkina, Natalya; Kozyrev, Alexander; Litvak, Maxim; Malakhov, Alexey; Mitrofanov, Igor; Mokrousov, Maxim; Nikiforov, Sergey; Prokhorov, Vasily; Sanin, Anton; Tretyakov, Vladislav; Varenikov, Alexey; Vostrukhin, Andrey; Kuzmin, Ruslan; Wolff, Michael; Botta, Oliver; Drake, Darrell; Bean, Keri; Lemmon, Mark; Lee, Ella Mae; Sucharski, Robert; Hernández, Miguel Ángel de Pablo; Ávalos, Juan José Blanco; Ramos, Miguel; Kim, Myung-Hee; Malespin, Charles; Plante, Ianik; Muller, Jan-Peter; Navarro-González, Rafael; Ewing, Ryan; Boynton, William; Downs, Robert; Fitzgibbon, Mike; Harshman, Karl; Morrison, Shaunna; Dietrich, William; Kortmann, Onno; Palucis, Marisa; Williams, Amy; Lugmair, Günter; Wilson, Michael A.; Rubin, David; Jakosky, Bruce; Balic-Zunic, Tonci; Frydenvang, Jens; Jensen, Jaqueline Kløvgaard; Kinch, Kjartan; Koefoed, Asmus; Madsen, Morten Bo; Stipp, Susan Louise Svane; Boyd, Nick; Pradler, Irina; Jacob, Samantha; Owen, Tobias; Rowland, Scott; Atlaskin, Evgeny; Savijärvi, Hannu; Boehm, Eckart; Böttcher, Stephan; Burmeister, Sönke; Guo, Jingnan; Köhler, Jan; García, César Martín; Mueller-Mellin, Reinhold; Wimmer-Schweingruber, Robert; McConnochie, Timothy; Benna, Mehdi; Franz, Heather; Bower, Hannah; Brunner, Anna; Blau, Hannah; Boucher, Thomas; Carmosino, Marco; Atreya, Sushil; Elliott, Harvey; Halleaux, Douglas; Rennó, Nilton; Wong, Michael; Pepin, Robert; Elliott, Beverley; Spray, John; Thompson, Lucy; Williams, Joshua; Vasconcelos, Paulo; Bentz, Jennifer; Nealson, Kenneth; Popa, Radu; Kah, Linda C.; Moersch, Jeffrey; Tate, Christopher; Day, Mackenzie; Kocurek, Gary; Hallet, Bernard; Sletten, Ronald; Francis, Raymond; McCullough, Emily; Cloutis, Ed; ten Kate, Inge Loes; Kuzmin, Ruslan; Arvidson, Raymond; Fraeman, Abigail; Scholes, Daniel; Slavney, Susan; Stein, Thomas; Ward, Jennifer; Berger, Jeffrey; Moores, John E.

    2014-01-01

    Sedimentary rocks examined by the Curiosity rover at Yellowknife Bay, Mars, were derived from sources that evolved from an approximately average martian crustal composition to one influenced by alkaline basalts. No evidence of chemical weathering is preserved, indicating arid, possibly cold, paleoclimates and rapid erosion and deposition. The absence of predicted geochemical variations indicates that magnetite and phyllosilicates formed by diagenesis under low-temperature, circumneutral pH, rock-dominated aqueous conditions. Analyses of diagenetic features (including concretions, raised ridges, and fractures) at high spatial resolution indicate that they are composed of iron- and halogen-rich components, magnesium-iron-chlorine-rich components, and hydrated calcium sulfates, respectively. Composition of a cross-cutting dike-like feature is consistent with sedimentary intrusion. The geochemistry of these sedimentary rocks provides further evidence for diverse depositional and diagenetic sedimentary environments during the early history of Mars.

  16. Pu'u Poli'ahu, Mauna Kea: A Possible Analog for the Hematite Bearing Layer Located in Gale Crater, Mars.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Adams, M. E.

    2014-01-01

    Hyperspectral data detected by the Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM) on board Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) indicated the presence of a hematite bearing ridge on Mount Sharp situated in the Gale Crater, Mars. [Fraeman]. The presence of this mineral in high concentrations is indicative of possible aqueous origins. [Fraeman] In 2012, Curiosity Rover landed in Gale Crater on Mars. Curiosity's mission is to determine Mars' habitability and is equipped with an advanced suite of scientific instruments that are capable of conducting analyses on rocks and soil. The hematite bearing ridge on Mount Sharp is thought to be a good candidate of study for Curiosity. To better understand this type of terrain, the study of analog sites similar in geologic setting is of great importance. One site thought to be a comparable analog is a cinder cone called Pu'u Poli'ahu located on the summit of Mauna Kea, Hawai?i. Poli'ahu is unique among the tephra cones of Mauna Kea because it is thought to have formed in subaqueous conditions approximately 170,000 to 175,000 years ago. [Porter] Consequently located on the inner flanks of Poli'ahu is a rock outcrop that contains hematite. Samples were collected from the outcrop and characterized using the following instruments: Digital Microscope, Panalytical X-ray diffraction (XRD), and scanning electron microscope (SEM). The initial preparation of the rocks involved documenting each sample by creating powdered samples, thick sections, and photo documentation.

  17. Buried Craters of Utopia

    Science.gov (United States)

    2003-01-01

    MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-365, 19 May 2003Beneath the northern plains of Mars are numerous buried meteor impact craters. One of the most heavily-cratered areas, although buried, occurs in Utopia Planitia, as shown in this Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image. The history of Mars is complex; impact craters provide a tool by which to understand some of that history. In this case, a very ancient, cratered surface was thinly-buried by younger material that is not cratered at all. This area is near 48.1oN, 228.2oW; less than 180 km (112 mi) west of the Viking 2 lander site. Sunlight illuminates the scene from the lower left.

  18. Quantifying Cyclic Thermal Stresses Due to Solar Exposure in Rock Fragments in Gale Crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hallet, B.; Mackenzie-Helnwein, P.; Sletten, R. S.

    2017-12-01

    Curiosity and earlier rovers on Mars have revealed in detail rocky landscapes with decaying outcrops, rubble, stone-littered regolith, and bedrock exposures that reflect the weathering processes operating on rock exposed to Mars' cold and hyperarid environment. Evidence from diverse sources points to the importance of thermal stresses driven by cyclic solar exposure in contributing to the mechanical weathering of exposed rock and generation of regolith in various settings on Earth [1,2,3], and even more so on extraterrestrial bodies where large, rapid cyclic temperature variations are frequent (e.g. Mars [4], as well as comets [5], asteroids [6] and other airless bodies [7]). To study these thermal stresses, we use a 3d finite element (FE) model constrained by ground-based surface temperature measurements from Curiosity's Environmental Monitoring Station (REMS). The numerical model couples radiation and conduction with elastic response to determine the temperature and stress fields in individual rocks on the surface of Mars based on rock size and thermo-mechanical properties. We provide specific quantitative results for boulder-size basalt rocks resting on the ground using a realistic thermal forcing that closely matches the REMS temperature observations, and related thermal inertia data. Moreover, we introduce analytical studies showing that these numerical results can readily be generalized. They are quite universal, informing us about thermal stresses due to cyclic solar exposure in general, for rock fragments of different sizes, lithologies, and fracture- thermal- and mechanical-properties. Using Earth-analogue studies to gain insight, we also consider how the shapes, fractures, and surface details of rock fragments imaged by Curiosity likely reflect the importance of rock breakdown due to thermal stresses relative to wind-driven rock erosion and other surface processes on Mars. References:[1] McFadden L et al. (2005) Geol. Soc.Am. Bull. 117(1-2): 161-173 [2

  19. Aqueous Alteration of Outcrops on Endeavour Crater on Mars Inferred from Spatially Oversampled CRISM Spectra and Opportunity Rover Data

    Science.gov (United States)

    Arvidson, R. E.; Squyres, S. W.; Murchie, S. L.; McLennan, S. M.; Knoll, A. H.; Catalano, J. G.

    2013-12-01

    Spatially-sharpened CRISM hyperspectral imaging data enabled orbital mapping of a subtle (several weight percent) nontronite (Fe+3 dioctahedral smectite) clay signature in a previously unidentified small rock outcrop on the Cape York portion of the rim of the Noachian-aged Endeavour Crater. Opportunity rover data show that the signature corresponds to finely-layered strata (subset of the Whitewater Lake formation) that were uplifted and overlain by Shoemaker formation impact breccias during the Endeavour crater-forming event. Layers within these Whitewater Lake strata are typically less than or about equal to ~1 cm thick and texturally range from muddy sandstones to materials too fine to resolve in the 30 μm/pixel Microscopic Imager data. These rocks are partially covered by thin, glossy dark veneers locally associated with box-like fractures filled with dark veins. The rocks and veneers have basaltic elemental compositions, with higher concentrations in the veneers of elements easily mobilized by water (Zn, S, Cl, and Br). Cross cutting relationships demonstrate that the veneers post-date Ca-sulfate veins that cut through Whitewater Lake rocks and the overlying impact breccias and also post-date relatively large Whitewater Lake boxwork fractures where compositional data indicate extensive aqueous leaching of rocks within the fractures. Weakly acidic groundwater is inferred to have flowed through fractures and permeable layers within the layered Whitewater Lake strata and become neutralized by reactions with the basaltic materials, leaving behind salts and a minor amount of nontronite in the dark veneers. A greater water flux through the large, permeable boxwork fractures is inferred to have locally produced a greater degree of alteration. Three episodes of post-depositional aqueous alteration are thus clearly evident in the investigated strata: formation of Ca-sulfate veins after Endeavour crater formed, significant alteration to produce extensive alteration

  20. Bulk mineralogy of the NE Syrtis and Jezero crater regions of Mars derived through thermal infrared spectral analyses

    Science.gov (United States)

    Salvatore, M. R.; Goudge, T. A.; Bramble, M. S.; Edwards, C. S.; Bandfield, J. L.; Amador, E. S.; Mustard, J. F.; Christensen, P. R.

    2018-02-01

    We investigated the area to the northwest of the Isidis impact basin (hereby referred to as "NW Isidis") using thermal infrared emission datasets to characterize and quantify bulk surface mineralogy throughout this region. This area is home to Jezero crater and the watershed associated with its two deltaic deposits in addition to NE Syrtis and the strong and diverse visible/near-infrared spectral signatures observed in well-exposed stratigraphic sections. The spectral signatures throughout this region show a diversity of primary and secondary surface mineralogies, including olivine, pyroxene, smectite clays, sulfates, and carbonates. While previous thermal infrared investigations have sought to characterize individual mineral groups within this region, none have systematically assessed bulk surface mineralogy and related these observations to visible/near-infrared studies. We utilize an iterative spectral unmixing method to statistically evaluate our linear thermal infrared spectral unmixing models to derive surface mineralogy. All relevant primary and secondary phases identified in visible/near-infrared studies are included in the unmixing models and their modeled spectral contributions are discussed in detail. While the stratigraphy and compositional diversity observed in visible/near-infrared spectra are much better exposed and more diverse than most other regions of Mars, our thermal infrared analyses suggest the dominance of basaltic compositions with less observed variability in the amount and diversity of alteration phases. These results help to constrain the mineralogical context of these previously reported visible/near-infrared spectral identifications. The results are also discussed in the context of future in situ investigations, as the NW Isidis region has long been promoted as a region of paleoenvironmental interest on Mars.

  1. Filled/Eroded Craters

    Science.gov (United States)

    2005-01-01

    14 October 2005 This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image shows rugged terrain in northern Arabia Terra. The circular features are the remains of old meteor impact craters -- either the eroded remnants of the interiors of craters, or the remains of craters that were filled by layered material. The martian bedrock has craters of all sizes and states of erosion interbedded with its layered materials. Location near: 31.4oN, 299.0oW Image width: width: 3 km (1.9 mi) Illumination from: lower left Season: Northern Winter

  2. Simulation on three dimensional bubble formation using MARS

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Kunugi, Tomoaki

    1997-01-01

    This paper describes a numerical simulation on three-dimensional bubble formation by means of the MARS (Multi-interfaces Advection and Reconstruction Solver) developed by the author. The comparison between two-dimensional and three-dimensional simulation on an agglomeration of two bubbles is discussed. Moreover, some simulation results regarding a phase change phenomena such as a boiling and condensation in a two dimensional enclosure with heated and cooled walls are presented. (author)

  3. Mars Atmospheric Composition, Isotope Ratios and Seasonal Variations: Overview and Updates of the SAM Measurements at Gale Crater

    Science.gov (United States)

    Niles, Paul

    2014-01-01

    We will summarize the in situ measurements of atmospheric composition and the isotopic ratios of D/H in water, C-13/C-12, O-18/O-16, O-17 / O-16, and C-13 O-18 / C-12 O-16 in carbon dioxide, and Ar-38 / Ar-36, Kr-x / Kr-84, and N-15 / N-14 made in the martian atmosphere at Gale Crater from the Curiosity Rover using the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM)'s Quadrupole Mass Spectrometer (QMS) and Tunable Laser Spectrometer (TLS). With data over 700 sols since the Curiosity landing, we will discuss evidence and implications for changes on seasonal and other timescales. We will also present results for continued methane and methane enrichment experiments over this time period. Comparison between our measurements in the modern atmosphere and those of martian meteorites like ALH 84001 implies that the martian reservoirs of CO2 and H2O were largely established approximately 4 billion years ago, but that atmospheric loss or surface interaction may be still ongoing.

  4. Temperature dependence of the quadrupole splitting of olivine and pyroxene from the Plains of Gusev Crater on Mars

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Agresti, David G.

    2012-01-01

    In the present work, we report application of simultaneous fitting procedures to Mössbauer data acquired on the Plains of Gusev Crater by the MIMOS II spectrometer on board the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit. Based on a quantitative measure of spectrum quality, the 34 best of the ∼126 spectra acquired on the Plains are grouped together for a single simultaneous fit with a common least-squares criterion. Fitted values for the quadrupole splitting (QS) of olivine (Ol) from 200 K to 260 K are shown to lie between reported trend lines for Fo50 and Fo30 olivine, with a temperature gradient of (−11.2 ± 1.2) × 10  − 4 mm/s/K, a nearly five-fold improvement in precision over the previously reported value, enabling extrapolation to QS(Ol) = (2.93 ± 0.01) mm/s at 295 K. QS of pyroxene fit as a single doublet exhibits a temperature gradient of (−7.3 ± 2.3) × 10  − 4 mm/s/K.

  5. Characterization and petrologic interpretation of olivine-rich basalts at Gusev Crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    McSween, H.Y.; Wyatt, M.B.; Gellert, Ralf; Bell, J.F.; Morris, R.V.; Herkenhoff, K. E.; Crumpler, L.S.; Milam, K.A.; Stockstill, K.R.; Tornabene, L.L.; Arvidson, R. E.; Bartlett, P.; Blaney, D.; Cabrol, N.A.; Christensen, P.R.; Clark, B. C.; Crisp, J.A.; Des Marais, D.J.; Economou, T.; Farmer, J.D.; Farrand, W.; Ghosh, A.; Golombek, M.; Gorevan, S.; Greeley, R.; Hamilton, V.E.; Johnson, J. R.; Joliff, B.L.; Klingelhofer, G.; Knudson, A.T.; McLennan, S.; Ming, D.; Moersch, J.E.; Rieder, R.; Ruff, S.W.; Schrorder, C.; de Souza, P.A.; Squyres, S. W.; Wanke, H.; Wang, A.; Yen, A.; Zipfel, J.

    2006-01-01

    Rocks on the floor of Gusev crater are basalts of uniform composition and mineralogy. Olivine, the only mineral to have been identified or inferred from data by all instruments on the Spirit rover, is especially abundant in these rocks. These picritic basalts are similar in many respects to certain Martian meteorites (olivine-phyric shergottites). The olivine megacrysts in both have intermediate compositions, with modal abundances ranging up to 20-30%. Associated minerals in both include low-calcium and high-calcium pyroxenes, plagioclase of intermediate composition, iron-titanium-chromium oxides, and phosphate. These rocks also share minor element trends, reflected in their nickel-magnesium and chromium-magnesium ratios. Gusev basalts and shergottites appear to have formed from primitive magmas produced by melting an undepleted mantle at depth and erupted without significant fractionation. However, apparent differences between Gusev rocks and shergottites in their ages, plagioclase abundances, and volatile contents preclude direct correlation. Orbital determinations of global olivine distribution and compositions by thermal emission spectroscopy suggest that olivine-rich rocks may be widespread. Because weathering under acidic conditions preferentially attacks olivine and disguises such rocks beneath alteration rinds, picritic basalts formed from primitive magmas may even be a common component of the Martian crust formed during ancient and recent times. Copyright 2006 by the American Geophysical Union.

  6. Evaluation of Cavity Collapse and Surface Crater Formation for Selected Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Underground Nuclear Tests - 2010

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Pawloski, G A

    2011-01-03

    This report evaluates collapse evolution for selected Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) underground nuclear tests at the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS, formerly called the Nevada Test Site). The work is being done at the request of Navarro-Interra LLC, and supports environmental restoration efforts by the Department of Energy, National Nuclear Security Administration for the Nevada Site Office. Safety decisions must be made before a surface crater area, or potential surface crater area, can be reentered for any work. Our statements on cavity collapse and surface crater formation are input into their safety decisions. These statements do not include the effects of erosion that may modify the surface collapse craters over time. They also do not address possible radiation dangers that may be present. Subject matter experts from the LLNL Containment Program who had been active in weapons testing activities performed these evaluations. Information used included drilling and hole construction, emplacement and stemming, timing and sequence of the selected test and nearby tests, geology, yield, depth of burial, collapse times, surface crater sizes, cavity and crater volume estimations, and ground motion. Both classified and unclassified data were reviewed. Various amounts of information are available for these tests, depending on their age and other associated activities. Lack of data can hamper evaluations and introduce uncertainty. We make no attempt to quantify this uncertainty.

  7. A Habitable Fluvio-Lacustrine Environment at Yellowknife Bay, Gale Crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grotzinger, J. P.; Sumner, D. Y.; Kah, L. C.; Stack, K.; Gupta, S.; Edgar, L.; Rubin, D.; Lewis, K.; Schieber, J.; Mangold, N.; Milliken, R.; Conrad, P. G.; DesMarais, D.; Farmer, J.; Siebach, K.; Calef, F.; Hurowitz, J.; McLennan, S. M.; Ming, D.; Vaniman, D.; Crisp, J.; Vasavada, A.; Edgett, K. S.; Malin, M.; Blake, D.; Gellert, R.; Mahaffy, P.; Wiens, R. C.; Maurice, S.; Grant, J. A.; Wilson, S.; Anderson, R. C.; Beegle, L.; Arvidson, R.; Hallet, B.; Sletten, R. S.; Rice, M.; Bell, J.; Griffes, J.; Ehlmann, B.; Anderson, R. B.; Bristow, T. F.; Dietrich, W. E.; Dromart, G.; Eigenbrode, J.; Fraeman, A.; Hardgrove, C.; Herkenhoff, K.; Jandura, L.; Kocurek, G.; Lee, S.; Leshin, L. A.; Leveille, R.; Limonadi, D.; Maki, J.; McCloskey, S.; Meyer, M.; Minitti, M.; Newsom, H.; Oehler, D.; Okon, A.; Palucis, M.; Parker, T.; Rowland, S.; Schmidt, M.; Squyres, S.; Steele, A.; Stolper, E.; Summons, R.; Treiman, A.; Williams, R.; Yingst, A.; MSL Science Team; Kemppinen, Osku; Bridges, Nathan; Johnson, Jeffrey R.; Cremers, David; Godber, Austin; Wadhwa, Meenakshi; Wellington, Danika; McEwan, Ian; Newman, Claire; Richardson, Mark; Charpentier, Antoine; Peret, Laurent; King, Penelope; Blank, Jennifer; Weigle, Gerald; Li, Shuai; Robertson, Kevin; Sun, Vivian; Baker, Michael; Edwards, Christopher; Farley, Kenneth; Miller, Hayden; Newcombe, Megan; Pilorget, Cedric; Brunet, Claude; Hipkin, Victoria; Léveillé, Richard; Marchand, Geneviève; Sánchez, Pablo Sobrón; Favot, Laurent; Cody, George; Flückiger, Lorenzo; Lees, David; Nefian, Ara; Martin, Mildred; Gailhanou, Marc; Westall, Frances; Israël, Guy; Agard, Christophe; Baroukh, Julien; Donny, Christophe; Gaboriaud, Alain; Guillemot, Philippe; Lafaille, Vivian; Lorigny, Eric; Paillet, Alexis; Pérez, René; Saccoccio, Muriel; Yana, Charles; Armiens-Aparicio, Carlos; Rodríguez, Javier Caride; Blázquez, Isaías Carrasco; Gómez, Felipe Gómez; Gómez-Elvira, Javier; Hettrich, Sebastian; Malvitte, Alain Lepinette; Jiménez, Mercedes Marín; Martínez-Frías, Jesús; Martín-Soler, Javier; Martín-Torres, F. Javier; Jurado, Antonio Molina; Mora-Sotomayor, Luis; Caro, Guillermo Muñoz; López, Sara Navarro; Peinado-González, Verónica; Pla-García, Jorge; Manfredi, José Antonio Rodriguez; Romeral-Planelló, Julio José; Fuentes, Sara Alejandra Sans; Martinez, Eduardo Sebastian; Redondo, Josefina Torres; Urqui-O'Callaghan, Roser; Mier, María-Paz Zorzano; Chipera, Steve; Lacour, Jean-Luc; Mauchien, Patrick; Sirven, Jean-Baptiste; Manning, Heidi; Fairén, Alberto; Hayes, Alexander; Joseph, Jonathan; Sullivan, Robert; Thomas, Peter; Dupont, Audrey; Lundberg, Angela; Melikechi, Noureddine; Mezzacappa, Alissa; DeMarines, Julia; Grinspoon, David; Reitz, Günther; Prats, Benito; Atlaskin, Evgeny; Genzer, Maria; Harri, Ari-Matti; Haukka, Harri; Kahanpää, Henrik; Kauhanen, Janne; Paton, Mark; Polkko, Jouni; Schmidt, Walter; Siili, Tero; Fabre, Cécile; Wray, James; Wilhelm, Mary Beth; Poitrasson, Franck; Patel, Kiran; Gorevan, Stephen; Indyk, Stephen; Paulsen, Gale; Bish, David; Gondet, Brigitte; Langevin, Yves; Geffroy, Claude; Baratoux, David; Berger, Gilles; Cros, Alain; d'Uston, Claude; Forni, Olivier; Gasnault, Olivier; Lasue, Jérémie; Lee, Qiu-Mei; Meslin, Pierre-Yves; Pallier, Etienne; Parot, Yann; Pinet, Patrick; Schröder, Susanne; Toplis, Mike; Lewin, Éric; Brunner, Will; Heydari, Ezat; Achilles, Cherie; Sutter, Brad; Cabane, Michel; Coscia, David; Szopa, Cyril; Robert, François; Sautter, Violaine; Le Mouélic, Stéphane; Nachon, Marion; Buch, Arnaud; Stalport, Fabien; Coll, Patrice; François, Pascaline; Raulin, François; Teinturier, Samuel; Cameron, James; Clegg, Sam; Cousin, Agnès; DeLapp, Dorothea; Dingler, Robert; Jackson, Ryan Steele; Johnstone, Stephen; Lanza, Nina; Little, Cynthia; Nelson, Tony; Williams, Richard B.; Jones, Andrea; Kirkland, Laurel; Baker, Burt; Cantor, Bruce; Caplinger, Michael; Davis, Scott; Duston, Brian; Fay, Donald; Harker, David; Herrera, Paul; Jensen, Elsa; Kennedy, Megan R.; Krezoski, Gillian; Krysak, Daniel; Lipkaman, Leslie; McCartney, Elaina; McNair, Sean; Nixon, Brian; Posiolova, Liliya; Ravine, Michael; Salamon, Andrew; Saper, Lee; Stoiber, Kevin; Supulver, Kimberley; Van Beek, Jason; Van Beek, Tessa; Zimdar, Robert; French, Katherine Louise; Iagnemma, Karl; Miller, Kristen; Goesmann, Fred; Goetz, Walter; Hviid, Stubbe; Johnson, Micah; Lefavor, Matthew; Lyness, Eric; Breves, Elly; Dyar, M. Darby; Fassett, Caleb; Edwards, Laurence; Haberle, Robert; Hoehler, Tori; Hollingsworth, Jeff; Kahre, Melinda; Keely, Leslie; McKay, Christopher; Bleacher, Lora; Brinckerhoff, William; Choi, David; Dworkin, Jason P.; Floyd, Melissa; Freissinet, Caroline; Garvin, James; Glavin, Daniel; Harpold, Daniel; Martin, David K.; McAdam, Amy; Pavlov, Alexander; Raaen, Eric; Smith, Michael D.; Stern, Jennifer; Tan, Florence; Trainer, Melissa; Posner, Arik; Voytek, Mary; Aubrey, Andrew; Behar, Alberto; Blaney, Diana; Brinza, David; Christensen, Lance; DeFlores, Lauren; Feldman, Jason; Feldman, Sabrina; Flesch, Gregory; Jun, Insoo; Keymeulen, Didier; Mischna, Michael; Morookian, John Michael; Pavri, Betina; Schoppers, Marcel; Sengstacken, Aaron; Simmonds, John J.; Spanovich, Nicole; Juarez, Manuel de la Torre; Webster, Christopher R.; Yen, Albert; Archer, Paul Douglas; Cucinotta, Francis; Jones, John H.; Morris, Richard V.; Niles, Paul; Rampe, Elizabeth; Nolan, Thomas; Fisk, Martin; Radziemski, Leon; Barraclough, Bruce; Bender, Steve; Berman, Daniel; Dobrea, Eldar Noe; Tokar, Robert; Cleghorn, Timothy; Huntress, Wesley; Manhès, Gérard; Hudgins, Judy; Olson, Timothy; Stewart, Noel; Sarrazin, Philippe; Vicenzi, Edward; Bullock, Mark; Ehresmann, Bent; Hamilton, Victoria; Hassler, Donald; Peterson, Joseph; Rafkin, Scot; Zeitlin, Cary; Fedosov, Fedor; Golovin, Dmitry; Karpushkina, Natalya; Kozyrev, Alexander; Litvak, Maxim; Malakhov, Alexey; Mitrofanov, Igor; Mokrousov, Maxim; Nikiforov, Sergey; Prokhorov, Vasily; Sanin, Anton; Tretyakov, Vladislav; Varenikov, Alexey; Vostrukhin, Andrey; Kuzmin, Ruslan; Clark, Benton; Wolff, Michael; Botta, Oliver; Drake, Darrell; Bean, Keri; Lemmon, Mark; Schwenzer, Susanne P.; Lee, Ella Mae; Sucharski, Robert; Hernández, Miguel Ángel de Pablo; Ávalos, Juan José Blanco; Ramos, Miguel; Kim, Myung-Hee; Malespin, Charles; Plante, Ianik; Muller, Jan-Peter; Navarro-González, Rafael; Ewing, Ryan; Boynton, William; Downs, Robert; Fitzgibbon, Mike; Harshman, Karl; Morrison, Shaunna; Kortmann, Onno; Williams, Amy; Lugmair, Günter; Wilson, Michael A.; Jakosky, Bruce; Balic-Zunic, Tonci; Frydenvang, Jens; Jensen, Jaqueline Kløvgaard; Kinch, Kjartan; Koefoed, Asmus; Madsen, Morten Bo; Stipp, Susan Louise Svane; Boyd, Nick; Campbell, John L.; Perrett, Glynis; Pradler, Irina; VanBommel, Scott; Jacob, Samantha; Owen, Tobias; Savijärvi, Hannu; Boehm, Eckart; Böttcher, Stephan; Burmeister, Sönke; Guo, Jingnan; Köhler, Jan; García, César Martín; Mueller-Mellin, Reinhold; Wimmer-Schweingruber, Robert; Bridges, John C.; McConnochie, Timothy; Benna, Mehdi; Franz, Heather; Bower, Hannah; Brunner, Anna; Blau, Hannah; Boucher, Thomas; Carmosino, Marco; Atreya, Sushil; Elliott, Harvey; Halleaux, Douglas; Rennó, Nilton; Wong, Michael; Pepin, Robert; Elliott, Beverley; Spray, John; Thompson, Lucy; Gordon, Suzanne; Ollila, Ann; Williams, Joshua; Vasconcelos, Paulo; Bentz, Jennifer; Nealson, Kenneth; Popa, Radu; Moersch, Jeffrey; Tate, Christopher; Day, Mackenzie; Francis, Raymond; McCullough, Emily; Cloutis, Ed; ten Kate, Inge Loes; Scholes, Daniel; Slavney, Susan; Stein, Thomas; Ward, Jennifer; Berger, Jeffrey; Moores, John E.

    2014-01-01

    The Curiosity rover discovered fine-grained sedimentary rocks, which are inferred to represent an ancient lake and preserve evidence of an environment that would have been suited to support a martian biosphere founded on chemolithoautotrophy. This aqueous environment was characterized by neutral pH, low salinity, and variable redox states of both iron and sulfur species. Carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, sulfur, nitrogen, and phosphorus were measured directly as key biogenic elements; by inference, phosphorus is assumed to have been available. The environment probably had a minimum duration of hundreds to tens of thousands of years. These results highlight the biological viability of fluvial-lacustrine environments in the post-Noachian history of Mars.

  8. Coatings and weathering rinds at Gusev crater, Mars, investigated by depth selective Moessbauer spectroscopy

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Fleischer, Iris; Klingelhoefer, Goestar; Schroeder, Christian; Rodionov, Daniel S.

    2008-01-01

    The miniaturised Moessbauer spectrometer (MIMOS II) is part of the scientific payload of the two Mars Exploration Rovers, 'Spirit' and 'Opportunity' (Klingelhoefer et al., J Geophys Res 108(E12), 2003). MIMOS II can obtain 14.4 keV γ-ray spectra and 6.4 keV X-ray spectra simultaneously in backscattering geometry. Comparing 6.4 keV and 14.4 keV spectra yields depth selective information about a sample and allows for the detection and characterization of thin coatings or weathering rinds. Laboratory measurements and a Monte Carlo simulation were used to study the influence of coatings of varying thickness and composition on backscattering Moessbauer spectra. The thickness of thin surface layers on natural samples can be estimated by comparing measured and the corresponding simulated spectra.

  9. Evaluation of Cavity Collapse and Surface Crater Formation for Selected Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Underground Nuclear Tests - 2007

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Roberts, S K; Pawloski, G A; Raschke, K

    2007-04-26

    This report describes evaluation of collapse evolution for selected LLNL underground nuclear tests at the Nevada Test Site (NTS). The work is being done at the request of NSTec and supports the Department of Energy National Nuclear Security Association Nevada Site Office Borehole Management Program (BMP). The primary objective of this program is to close (plug) weapons program legacy boreholes that are deemed no longer useful. Safety decisions must be made before a crater area, or potential crater area, can be reentered for any work. Our statements on cavity collapse and crater formation are input into their safety decisions. The BMP is an on-going program to address hundreds of boreholes at the NTS. Each year NSTec establishes a list of holes to be addressed. They request the assistance of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Los Alamos National Laboratory Containment Programs to provide information related to the evolution of collapse history and make statements on completeness of collapse as relates to surface crater stability. These statements do not include the effects of erosion that may modify the collapse craters over time. They also do not address possible radiation dangers that may be present. Subject matter experts from the LLNL Containment Program and the Chemical Sciences Division who had been active in weapons testing activities performed these evaluations. Information used included drilling and hole construction, emplacement and stemming, timing and sequence of the selected test and nearby tests, geology, yield, depth of burial, collapse times, surface crater sizes, cavity and crater volume estimations, and ground motion. Both classified and unclassified data were reviewed. Various amounts of information are available for these tests, depending on their age and other associated activities. Lack of data can hamper evaluations and introduce uncertainty. We make no attempt to quantify this uncertainty. The following unclassified summary

  10. Evidence for Smectite Clays from MSL SAM Analyses of Mudstone at Yellowknife Bay, Gale Crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    McAdam, Amy; Franz, Heather; Mahaffy, Paul R.; Eigenbrode, Jennifer L.; Stern, Jennifer C.; Brunner, Anna; Archer, Paul Douglas; Ming, Douglas W.; Morris, Richard V.; Atreya, Sushil K.

    2013-01-01

    Drilled samples of mudstone from the Sheepbed unit at Yellowknife Bay were analyzed by MSL instruments including the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) and Chemistry and Mineralogy (CheMin) instruments in MSL's Analytical Laboratory. CheMin analyses revealed the first in situ X-ray diffraction based evidence of clay minerals on Mars, which are likely trioctahedral smectites (e.g., saponite) and comprise approx 20% of the mudstone sample (e.g., Bristow et al., this meeting). SAM analyses, which heated the mudstone samples to 1000 C and monitored volatiles evolved to perform in situ evolved gas analysis mass spectrometry (EGA-MS), resulted in a H2O trace exhibiting a wide evolution at temperatures present in Rocknest materials that could be expected to be at least partially derived from local sources is reasonable. But, because smectite clays were not definitively observed in CheMin analyses of Rocknest materials, they must be present at much lower abundances than the approx 20% observed in the mudstone samples. This potential detection underscores the complementary nature of the MSL CheMin and SAM instruments for investigations of martian sample mineralogy. Information on the nature of Yellowknife Bay clay minerals may also be available from the detection of H2 evolved during SAM EGA-MS at high temperature. A likely source of at least some of this H2 is H2O evolved from the smectite clays at high temperature, and it is possible these evolutions can be used in a similar fashion to high temperature H2O releases to provide constraints on the clay minerals in a sample. In addition, the D/H of this high temperature H2, as well as the H2O, can be derived from SAM MS and Tunable Laser Spectrometer (TLS) data, respectively. These D/H values may help to inform the provenance of high and low temperature water evolved from martian samples

  11. Thermophysical Properties Along Curiosity's Traverse in Gale Crater, Mars, Derived from the REMS Ground Temperature Sensor

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vasavada, Ashwin R.; Piqueux, Sylvain; Lewis, Kevin W.; Lemmon, Mark T.; Smith, Michael Doyle

    2016-01-01

    The REMS instrument onboard the Mars Science Laboratory rover, Curiosity, has measured ground temperature nearly continuously at hourly intervals for two Mars years. Coverage of the entire diurnal cycle at 1 Hz is available every few martian days. We compare these measurements with predictions of surface atmosphere thermal models to derive the apparent thermal inertia and thermally derived albedo along the rovers traverse after accounting for the radiative effects of atmospheric water ice during fall and winter, as is necessary to match the measured seasonal trend. The REMS measurements can distinguish between active sand, other loose materials, mudstone, and sandstone based on their thermophysical properties. However, the apparent thermal inertias of bedrock dominated surfaces [approx. 350-550 J m(exp. -2) K(exp. -1 s(exp. -1/2 )] are lower than expected. We use rover imagery and the detailed shape of the diurnal ground temperature curve to explore whether lateral or vertical heterogeneity in the surface materials within the sensor footprint might explain the low inertias. We find that the bedrock component of the surface can have a thermal inertia as high as 650-1700 J m(exp. -2) K(exp. -1) s(exp. -1/2) for mudstone sites and approx. 700 J m(exp. -2) K(exp. -1) s(exp. - 1/2) for sandstone sites in models runs that include lateral and vertical mixing. Although the results of our forward modeling approach may be non-unique, they demonstrate the potential to extract information about lateral and vertical variations in thermophysical properties from temporally resolved measurements of ground temperature.

  12. Degraded Crater

    Science.gov (United States)

    2004-01-01

    21 October 2004 Near the center of this Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image lies the degraded remnants of an old meteor impact crater. The terrain in which it occurs is a heavily eroded, north middle-latitude surface. The image is located in the fretted terrains north of Arabia Terra near 41.3oN, 305.8oW. The image covers an area about 3 km (1.9 mi) wide and sunlight illuminates the scene from the lower left.

  13. Exhuming Craters

    Science.gov (United States)

    2005-01-01

    30 July 2005 This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image shows a wind-eroded landscape in the Amazonis Mensa region of far western Tharsis. Two meteor impact craters that formed in -- and then were buried by -- rock are now found in a state of partial-exhumation from within the wind-eroded material. Location near: 2.0oN, 147.3oW Image width: width: 3 km (1.9 mi) Illumination from: lower left Season: Northern Autumn

  14. ChemCam results from the Shaler outcrop in Gale crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Anderson, Ryan B.; Bridges, J.C.; Williams, A.; Edgar, L.; Ollila, A.; Williams, J.; Nachon, Marion; Mangold, N.; Fisk, M.; Schieber, J.; Gupta, S.; Dromart, G.; Wiens, R.; Le Mouélic, Stéphane; Forni, O.; Lanza, N.; Mezzacappa, Alissa; Sautter, V.; Blaney, D.; Clark, B.; Clegg, S.; Gasnault, O.; Lasue, J.; Léveillé, Richard; Lewin, E.; Lewis, K.W.; Maurice, S.; Newsom, H.; Schwenzer, S.P.; Vaniman, D.

    2015-01-01

    differing compositions, and inferred provenances at Shaler, suggest compositionally heterogeneous terrain in the Gale crater rim and surroundings, and intermittent periods of deposition.

  15. AN INVESTIGATION OF THE HYPOTHESES FOR FORMATION OF THE PLATY-RIDGED-POLYGONIZED TERRAIN IN ELYSIUM PLANITIA, MARS

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Z. Yue

    2017-07-01

    Full Text Available The origin of the platy-ridged-polygonized (PRP terrains on Martian surface has long been debated. The terrain has generally been classified as water, pack ice, or basalt lava related flow. The crater counting results of the PRP terrains suggest they are geologically very young; therefore, they are significant in understanding the recent evolution of Mars. This work evaluated the current hypotheses through detailed analysis of the distribution and microtopographies with the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE images for the PRP terrains in Elysium Planitia, Mars. Quantitative measurements and statistics of the typical features of the PRP terrains were also made. In addition, we also found an analog site in Tarim Basin in Xinjiang, China. Our results suggest that mud flow is responsible for the formation of the PRP terrains on the Mars surface, although the hypothesis of low-viscosity basalt lava floods cannot be completely excluded. This finding implies that a regional environment suitable for liquid water may have existed in recent geologic time, which has great importance for future Mars scientific exploration.

  16. An Investigation of the Hypotheses for Formation of the Platy-Ridged Terrain in Elysium Planitia, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yue, Z.; Gou, S.; Michael, G.; Di, K.; Xie, H.; Gong, H.; Shao, Y.

    2017-07-01

    The origin of the platy-ridged-polygonized (PRP) terrains on Martian surface has long been debated. The terrain has generally been classified as water, pack ice, or basalt lava related flow. The crater counting results of the PRP terrains suggest they are geologically very young; therefore, they are significant in understanding the recent evolution of Mars. This work evaluated the current hypotheses through detailed analysis of the distribution and microtopographies with the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) images for the PRP terrains in Elysium Planitia, Mars. Quantitative measurements and statistics of the typical features of the PRP terrains were also made. In addition, we also found an analog site in Tarim Basin in Xinjiang, China. Our results suggest that mud flow is responsible for the formation of the PRP terrains on the Mars surface, although the hypothesis of low-viscosity basalt lava floods cannot be completely excluded. This finding implies that a regional environment suitable for liquid water may have existed in recent geologic time, which has great importance for future Mars scientific exploration.

  17. Igneous composition vaiations determined by ChemCam along Curiosity's traverse from Bradbury to Rocknest area at Gale crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sautter, Violaine; MSL Science Team

    2013-04-01

    , defined by bedded and light toned fractured rocks characteristic of the Glenelg-Yellowknife bay area. It is characterized by stratified outcrops where layered dark rocks alternate with light-toned cross-bedded units. Throughout these strata the rocks appear significantly finer grained compared to zone I. They may show sandstone-like texture (Bathurst Inlet) and vesicular to laminated morphology. Aeolian ripples replace gravels. Textural changes in the rocks translate chemically to compositions that are lower in Si and Al, and higher in Fe and K compared to zone I, consistent with under-saturated basaltic compositions close to basanite. Zone II is rather complex, showing evidence of lava flows on one hand and ambiguous rock textures on the other hand. The latter may be interpreted as lithification of sediments from an igneous source corresponding either to some explosive type of volcanism or deriving from complex sedimentary processes. In conclusion zone I appears to reveal feldspar-rich crustal bedrock for the first time on Mars, which may come the crater rim. Zone II, dominated by iron- and potassium-rich undersaturated basaltic compositions, result from a complex sequence of processes not yet fully understood.

  18. Mechanical Aqueous Alteration Dominates Textures of Gale Crater Rocks: Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) Results

    Science.gov (United States)

    Aileen Yingst, R.; Minitti, Michelle; Edgett, Kenneth; McBride, Marie; Stack, Kathryn

    2015-04-01

    The Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) acquired sub-mm/pixel scale color images of over 70 individual rocks and outcrops during Curiosity's first year on Mars, permitting the study of textures down to the distinction between silt and very fine sand. We group imaged rock textures into classes based on their grain size, sorting, matrix characteristics, and abundance of pores. Because the recent campaign at Pahrump Hills acquired many more MAHLI images than elsewhere along the rover traverse [6], textural analysis there is more detailed and thus types observed there are sub-divided. Mudstones: These rocks contain framework grains smaller than the highest resolution MAHLI images (16 μm/pixel), and thus are interpreted to consist of grains that are silt-sized or smaller. Some rocks contain nodules, sulfate veins, and Mg-enriched erosionally-resistant ridges. The Pahrump Hills region contains mudstones of at least four different sub-textures: recessive massive, recessive parallel-laminated, resistant laminated-to-massive, and resistant cross-stratified. Recessive mudstones are slope-forming; parallel-laminated recessive mudstones display mm-scale parallel (and in some cases rhythmic) lamination that extends laterally for many meters, and are interbedded with recessive massive mudstones. Coarse cm- to mm-scale laminae appear within resistant mudstones though some portions are more massive; laminae tend to be traceable for cm to meters. Well-sorted sandstones: Rocks in this class are made of gray, fine-to-medium sand and exhibit little to no porosity. Two examples of this class show fine lineations with sub-mm spacing. Aillik, a target in the Shaler outcrop, shows abundant cross-lamination. The Pahrump Hills region contains a sub-texture of well-sorted, very fine to fine-grained cross-stratified sandstone at the dune and ripple-scale. Poorly-sorted sandstones. This class is subdivided into two sub-classes: rounded, coarse-to-very coarse sand grains of variable colors and

  19. Craters and Layers

    Science.gov (United States)

    2006-01-01

    11 March 2006 This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image shows some typical relations between impact craters and light-toned, layered rock on Mars. The larger circular feature at the north (top) end of the image marks the location of a filled, buried crater on intermountain terrain north of Hellas Planitia. The larger crater at the southeast (lower right) corner formed by meteor impact into the layered material in which the buried crater is encased. The layered rock, in this case, has a light tone similar to the sedimentary rocks being explored by the Mars Exploration Rover, Opportunity, thousands of kilometers away in Sinus Meridiani. Location near: 24.9oS, 299.3oW Image width: 3 km (1.9 mi) Illumination from: upper left Season: Southern Summer

  20. Evaluation of Cavity Collapse and Surface Crater Formation for Selected Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Underground Nuclear Tests - 2011, Part 2

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Pawloski, G A

    2012-01-30

    This report evaluates collapse evolution for selected Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) underground nuclear tests at the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS, formerly called the Nevada Test Site). The work is being done to support several different programs that desire access to the ground surface above expended underground nuclear tests. The programs include: the Borehole Management Program, the Environmental Restoration Program, and the National Center for Nuclear Security Gas-Migration Experiment. Safety decisions must be made before a crater area, or potential crater area, can be reentered for any work. Evaluation of cavity collapse and crater formation is input into the safety decisions. Subject matter experts from the LLNL Containment Program who participated in weapons testing activities perform these evaluations. Information used included drilling and hole construction, emplacement and stemming, timing and sequence of the selected test and nearby tests, geology, yield, depth of burial, collapse times, surface crater sizes, cavity and crater volume estimations, ground motion, and radiological release information. Both classified and unclassified data were reviewed. The evaluations do not include the effects of erosion that may modify the collapse craters over time. They also do not address possible radiation dangers that may be present. Various amounts of information are available for these tests, depending on their age and other associated activities. Lack of data can hamper evaluations and introduce uncertainty. We make no attempt to quantify this uncertainty. Evaluation of Cavity Collapse and Surface Crater Formation for Selected Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Underground Nuclear Tests - 2011 was published on March 2, 2011. This report, considered Part 2 of work undertaken in calendar year 2011, compiles evaluations requested after the March report. The following unclassified summary statements describe collapse evolution and crater

  1. Crater in Utopia

    Science.gov (United States)

    2004-01-01

    23 March 2004 Craters of the martian northern plains tend to be somewhat shallow because material has filled them in. Their ejecta blankets, too, are often covered by younger materials. This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image shows an example--a crater in Utopia Planitia near 43.7oN, 227.3oW. Erosion has roughened some of the surfaces of the material that filled the crater and covered its ejecta deposit. The picture covers an area about 3 km (1.9 mi) across. Sunlight illuminates the scene from the lower left.

  2. Solis Planum Craters

    Science.gov (United States)

    2005-01-01

    15 January 2004 This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image shows several meteor impact craters on Solis Planum. The second-largest crater in this scene is relatively young and fresh, exhibiting arrayed ejecta pattern and numerous boulders near its raised rim. The image covers an area about 3 km (1.9 mi) wide and is illuminated by sunlight from the upper left. The craters are located near 19.8oS, 85.5oW.

  3. Crater with Streak

    Science.gov (United States)

    2004-01-01

    6 November 2004 This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image shows a small meteor impact crater (approximately the size of the famous Meteor Crater in northern Arizona) with a bright wind streak on its west (left) side. Generally, winds blowing from the east (right) have stripped away bright dust everywhere but in the lee of the crater. These landforms are located in eastern Kasei Valles near 25.1oN, 60.8oW. The picture covers an area about 3 km (1.9 mi) wide. Sunlight illuminates the scene from the left/lower left.

  4. Thermal Infrared Emission Spectroscopy of Synthetic Allophane and its Potential Formation on Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rampe, E. B.; Kraft, M. D.; Sharp, T. G.; Golden, D. C.; Ming, Douglas W.

    2010-01-01

    Allophane is a poorly-crystalline, hydrous aluminosilicate with variable Si/Al ratios approx.0.5-1 and a metastable precursor of clay minerals. On Earth, it forms rapidly by aqueous alteration of volcanic glass under neutral to slightly acidic conditions [1]. Based on in situ chemical measurements and the identification of alteration phases [2-4], the Martian surface is interpreted to have been chemically weathered on local to regional scales. Chemical models of altered surfaces detected by the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit in Gusev crater suggest the presence of an allophane-like alteration product [3]. Thermal infrared (TIR) spectroscopy and spectral deconvolution models are primary tools for determining the mineralogy of the Martian surface [5]. Spectral models of data from the Thermal Emission Spectrometer (TES) indicate a global compositional dichotomy, where high latitudes tend to be enriched in a high-silica material [6,7], interpreted as high-silica, K-rich volcanic glass [6,8]. However, later interpretations proposed that the high-silica material may be an alteration product (such as amorphous silica, clay minerals, or allophane) and that high latitude surfaces are chemically weathered [9-11]. A TIR spectral library of pure minerals is available for the public [12], but it does not contain allophane spectra. The identification of allophane on the Martian surface would indicate high water activity at the time of its formation and would help constrain the aqueous alteration environment [13,14]. The addition of allophane to the spectral library is necessary to address the global compositional dichotomy. In this study, we characterize a synthetic allophane by IR spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction (XRD), and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) to create an IR emission spectrum of pure allophane for the Mars science community to use in Martian spectral models.

  5. Volumetric analysis of complex lunar craters - Implications for basin ring formation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hale, W. S.; Grieve, R. A. F.

    1982-01-01

    The crater to basin transition in complex lunar craters is characterized by combining morphological and volumetric analyses of their central peaks with subsurface data from terrestrial complex impact structures which suggest that the amount of uplifted material, as judged from its depth of origin, continues to increase with increasing rim diameter. This latter phenomenon implies that a redistribution of uplifted material away from a centralized peak may occur in the larger craters. The morphological and volumetric changes described occur over a rim diameter range of 51-80 km, which is considerably lower than the previously proposed range for the crater to basin transition of 140-175 km. Evidence is given in support of a crater to basin transition which begins at 51-80 km, and is characterized by a relative reduction in central peak volume and a development of rings of floor roughening which may be precursors of peak ring development.

  6. Exhuming South Polar Crater

    Science.gov (United States)

    2004-01-01

    7 February 2004 The large, circular feature in this image is an old meteor impact crater. The crater is larger than the 3 kilometers-wide (1.9 miles-wide) Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image, thus only part of the crater is seen. The bright mesas full of pits and holes--in some areas resembling swiss cheese--are composed of frozen carbon dioxide. In this summertime view, the mesa slopes and pit walls are darkened as sunlight causes some of the ice to sublime away. At one time in the past, the crater shown here may have been completely covered with carbon dioxide ice, but, over time, it has been exhumed as the ice sublimes a little bit more each summer. The crater is located near 86.8oS, 111.6oW. Sunlight illuminates this scene from the upper left.

  7. Arabia Crater Cluster

    Science.gov (United States)

    2004-01-01

    27 May 2004 This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image shows a portion of a large field of small craters clustered together in northeastern Arabia Terra. Crater clusters usually result from the secondary impact of debris thrown from a much larger impact or from the break-up and impact of fragments of a large meteor. Each crater has subsequently been partially filled by material that erodes to form a rugged crater floor surface, and the general appearance of each crater has been somewhat eroded and modified, as well. The image is located near 34.7oN, 314.7oW, and covers an area about 3 km (1.9 mi) across. Sunlight illuminates the scene from the lower left.

  8. Large Crater Clustering tool

    Science.gov (United States)

    Laura, Jason; Skinner, James A.; Hunter, Marc A.

    2017-08-01

    In this paper we present the Large Crater Clustering (LCC) tool set, an ArcGIS plugin that supports the quantitative approximation of a primary impact location from user-identified locations of possible secondary impact craters or the long-axes of clustered secondary craters. The identification of primary impact craters directly supports planetary geologic mapping and topical science studies where the chronostratigraphic age of some geologic units may be known, but more distant features have questionable geologic ages. Previous works (e.g., McEwen et al., 2005; Dundas and McEwen, 2007) have shown that the source of secondary impact craters can be estimated from secondary impact craters. This work adapts those methods into a statistically robust tool set. We describe the four individual tools within the LCC tool set to support: (1) processing individually digitized point observations (craters), (2) estimating the directional distribution of a clustered set of craters, back projecting the potential flight paths (crater clusters or linearly approximated catenae or lineaments), (3) intersecting projected paths, and (4) intersecting back-projected trajectories to approximate the local of potential source primary craters. We present two case studies using secondary impact features mapped in two regions of Mars. We demonstrate that the tool is able to quantitatively identify primary impacts and supports the improved qualitative interpretation of potential secondary crater flight trajectories.

  9. Small, Bouldery Crater

    Science.gov (United States)

    2004-01-01

    30 April 2004 This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image shows a relatively young impact crater located in southeastern Arabia Terra near 4.8oN, 313.9oW. It is about 1 kilometer (about six tenths of a mile) in diameter, roughly the size of the famous Meteor Crater in northern Arizona, U.S.A. Indeed, the Arizona crater may once have looked very similar to this, but erosion on Earth has been more vigorous than on the modern Mars. Large boulders, many of them bigger than a typical house, can be seen in the ejecta blanket and on the crater floor. Fine, bright dust, common throughout Arabia Terra, has thinly mantled all but the steepest slopes. The image is illuminated by sunlight from the left/upper left. The picture covers an area about 3 km (1.9 mi) across.

  10. Mass Movement on Vesta at Steep Scarps and Crater Rims

    Science.gov (United States)

    Krohn, K.; Jaumann, R.; Otto, K.; Hoogenboom, T.; Wagner, R.; Buczkowski, D. L.; Garry, B.; Williams, D. A.; Yingst, R. A.; Scully, J.; hide

    2014-01-01

    The Quadrangles Av-11 and Av-12 on Vesta are located at the northern rim of the giant Rheasilvia south polar impact basin. The primary geologic units in Av-11 and Av-12 include material from the Rheasilvia impact basin formation, smooth material and different types of impact crater structures (such as bimodal craters, dark and bright crater ray material and dark ejecta material). Av-11 and Av-12 exhibit almost the full range of mass wasting features observed on Vesta, such as slump blocks, spur-and-gully morphologies and landslides within craters. Processes of collapse, slope instability and seismically triggered events force material to slump down crater walls or scarps and produce landslides or rotational slump blocks. The spur-and-gully morphology that is known to form on Mars is also observed on Vesta; however, on Vesta this morphology formed under dry conditions.

  11. Degraded Crater Rim

    Science.gov (United States)

    2002-01-01

    (Released 3 May 2002) The Science The eastern rim of this unnamed crater in Southern Arabia Terra is very degraded (beaten up). This indicates that this crater is very ancient and has been subjected to erosion and subsequent bombardment from other impactors such as asteroids and comets. One of these later (younger) craters is seen in the upper right of this image superimposed upon the older crater rim material. Note that this smaller younger crater rim is sharper and more intact than the older crater rim. This region is also mantled with a blanket of dust. This dust mantle causes the underlying topography to take on a more subdued appearance. The Story When you think of Arabia, you probably think of hot deserts and a lot of profitable oil reserves. On Mars, however, Southern Arabia Terra is a cold place of cratered terrain. This almost frothy-looking image is the badly battered edge of an ancient crater, which has suffered both erosion and bombardment from asteroids, comets, or other impacting bodies over the long course of its existence. A blanket of dust has also settled over the region, which gives the otherwise rugged landscape a soft and more subdued appearance. The small, round crater (upper left) seems almost gemlike in its setting against the larger crater ring. But this companionship is no easy romance. Whatever formed the small crater clearly whammed into the larger crater rim at some point, obliterating part of its edge. You can tell the small crater was formed after the first and more devastating impact, because it is laid over the other larger crater. How much younger is the small one? Well, its rim is also much sharper and more intact, which gives a sense that it is probably far more youthful than the very degraded, ancient crater.

  12. Effects of Pre-Existing Target Structure on the Formation of Large Craters

    Science.gov (United States)

    Barnouin-Jha, O. S.; Cintala, M. J.; Crawford, D. A.

    2003-01-01

    The shapes of large-scale craters and the mechanics responsible for melt generation are influenced by broad and small-scale structures present in a target prior to impact. For example, well-developed systems of fractures often create craters that appear square in outline, good examples being Meteor Crater, AZ and the square craters of 433 Eros. Pre-broken target material also affects melt generation. Kieffer has shown how the shock wave generated in Coconino sandstone at Meteor crater created reverberations which, in combination with the natural target heterogeneity present, created peaks and troughs in pressure and compressed density as individual grains collided to produce a range of shock mineralogies and melts within neighboring samples. In this study, we further explore how pre-existing target structure influences various aspects of the cratering process. We combine experimental and numerical techniques to explore the connection between the scales of the impact generated shock wave and the pre-existing target structure. We focus on the propagation of shock waves in coarse, granular media, emphasizing its consequences on excavation, crater growth, ejecta production, cratering efficiency, melt generation, and crater shape. As a baseline, we present a first series of results for idealized targets where the particles are all identical in size and possess the same shock impedance. We will also present a few results, whereby we increase the complexities of the target properties by varying the grain size, strength, impedance and frictional properties. In addition, we investigate the origin and implications of reverberations that are created by the presence of physical and chemical heterogeneity in a target.

  13. Distinguishing Endogenic and Impact Craters Using Depth to Diameter Ratios and Circularities

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dorsey, R. J.; Greeley, R.

    2011-03-01

    Based on concerns for surface age dating, morphometric data from the McCartys Flow, New Mexico, was compared to craters in the Colombia Hills area in Gusev Crater, Mars, to distinguish impact craters from volcanic craters in lava flows.

  14. Asymmetric Crater

    Science.gov (United States)

    2004-01-01

    [figure removed for brevity, see original site] Released 18 December 2003Asymmetric craters such as the one in the center of this image are fairly rare. The more typical symmetric craters are formed when meteors impact a surface over a wide range of angles. Only very low impact angles (within 15o of horizontal) result in asymmetric structures such as this one. The bilateral symmetry of the ejecta, like two wings on either side of the elliptical crater, is typical of oblique impacts. The small crater downrange from the main crater could have been caused by the impactor breaking apart before impact or possibly a 'decapitation' of the impactor as it hit with the 'head' traveling farther to form the smaller structure.Image information: VIS instrument. Latitude -8.5, Longitude 227.5 East (132.5 West). 19 meter/pixel resolution.Note: this THEMIS visual image has not been radiometrically nor geometrically calibrated for this preliminary release. An empirical correction has been performed to remove instrumental effects. A linear shift has been applied in the cross-track and down-track direction to approximate spacecraft and planetary motion. Fully calibrated and geometrically projected images will be released through the Planetary Data System in accordance with Project policies at a later time.NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory manages the 2001 Mars Odyssey mission for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C. The Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) was developed by Arizona State University, Tempe, in collaboration with Raytheon Santa Barbara Remote Sensing. The THEMIS investigation is led by Dr. Philip Christensen at Arizona State University. Lockheed Martin Astronautics, Denver, is the prime contractor for the Odyssey project, and developed and built the orbiter. Mission operations are conducted jointly from Lockheed Martin and from JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

  15. Shock-induced kelyphite formation in the core of a complex impact crater

    Science.gov (United States)

    Deseta, Natalie; Boonsue, Suporn; Gibson, Roger L.; Spray, John G.

    2017-10-01

    We present a compositional and textural analysis of shock-induced microtextures in garnet porphyroblasts in migmatitic garnet-cordierite-biotite paragneisses from the centre of the Vredefort impact structure, South Africa. Detailed imaging and major element analysis of deformation features in, and adjacent to, the garnet porphyroblasts record a complex, heterogeneous distribution of shock effects at the microscale. As the most competent silicate mineral in the assemblage, with the highest Hugoniot Elastic Limit and a wide pressure-temperature stability field, the porphyroblastic garnet preserves a more diverse shock deformation response compared to minerals such as quartz and feldspar, which underwent more comprehensive shock metamorphism and subsequent annealing. The garnet porphyroblasts display pre-impact fractures that are overprinted by later intra-granular Hertzian and distinctive planar fractures associated with the impact event. Shock-induced strain localization occurred along internal slip planes and defects, including pre-existing fractures and inclusion boundaries in the garnet. Symplectitic (kelyphitic) coronas commonly enclose the garnet porphyroblasts, and inhabit intra-granular fractures. The kelyphite assemblage in fractures with open communication beyond garnet grain boundaries is characterized by orthopyroxene—cordierite—sapphirine. Conversely, the kelyphite assemblage in closed-off intra-granular fractures is highly variable, comprising spatially restricted combinations of a secondary garnet phase with a majoritic component, Al-rich orthopyroxene, sapphirine and cordierite. The impedance contrast between garnet porphyroblasts and their inclusions further facilitated the formation of shock-induced features (Al-rich orthopyroxene coronas). Together, the textural and mineralogical data suggest that these features provide a record of oscillatory shock perturbations initiated under confining pressure beneath the transient crater floor. This

  16. Mars on Earth: Analog basaltic soils and particulates from Lonar Crater, India, include Deccan soil, shocked soil, reworked lithic and glassy ejecta, and both shocked and unshocked baked zones

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wright, S. P.

    2017-12-01

    "There is no perfect analog for Mars on Earth" [first line of Hipkin et al. (2013) Icarus, 261-267]. However, fieldwork and corresponding sample analyses from laboratory instrumentation (to proxy field instruments) has resulted in the finding of unique analog materials that suggest that detailed investigations of Lonar Crater, India would be beneficial to the goals of the Mars Program. These are briefly described below as Analog Processes, Materials, and Fieldwork. Analog Processes: The geologic history of Lonar Crater emulates localities on Mars with 1.) flood basaltic volcanism with interlayer development of 2.) baked zones or "boles" and 3.) soil formation. Of six flows, the lower three are aqueously altered by groundwater to produce a range of 4.) alteration products described below. The impact event 570 ka produced a range of 5.) impactites including shocked baked zones, shocked soils, and altered basalt shocked to a range of shock pressures [Kieffer et al., 1976]. Analog Materials: 65 Ma Deccan basalt contains augite and labradorite. Baked zones are higher in hematite and other iron oxides. Soil consists of calcite and organic matter. Several basalts with secondary alteration are listed here and these mirror alteration on Mars: hematite, chlorite, serpentine, zeolite, and palagonite, with varying combinations of these with primary igneous minerals. All of these materials (#1 through 4 above) are shocked to a range of shocked pressures to produce maskelynite, flowing plagioclase glass, vesiculated plagioclase glass, and complete impact melts. Shocked soils contain schlieren calcite amidst comminuted grains of augite, labradorite, and these glasses. Shocked baked zones unsurprisingly have a petrographic texture similar to hornfels, another product of contact metamorphism. Analog Fieldwork: The ejecta consists of two layers: 8 m of lithic breccia with unshocked and fractured basalts under a 1 m suevite consisting of all ranges of shock pressure described above

  17. Pair of Craters

    Science.gov (United States)

    2005-01-01

    14 July 2005 This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image shows a 1.5 meters per pixel (5 ft/pixel) view of a pair of small meteor impact craters in the Arena Colles region of Mars, located north of Isidis Planitia. Location near: 22.7oN, 278.5oW Image width: width: 3 km (1.9 mi) Illumination from: lower left Season: Northern Autumn

  18. Crater in Arabia

    Science.gov (United States)

    2004-01-01

    28 October 2004 This high resolution Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image shows a small meteor impact crater with bouldery ejecta in the Arabia Terra region of Mars. The image is located near 11.9oN, 342.2oW. The 300 meter scale bar is about 328 yards long. Sunlight illuminates the scene from the upper left.

  19. Multispectral Evidence of Alteration from Murray Ridge to Marathon Valley Observed by the Opportunity Pancam on the Rim of Endeavour Crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Farrand, W. H.; Mittlefehldt, D. W.; Bell, J. F.; Johnson, J. R.

    2015-01-01

    The Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity has been traversing the rim of the Noachian-aged, 22 km diameter Endeavour crater. Circa sol 3390 of its mission, Opportunity reached the northern tip of the rim segment known as Solander Point and has since been traversing the rim to the south to its current location at the break in the rim known as Marathon Valley. The rocks making up the rim are dominated by impact breccias consisting of clasts and a finer-grained matrix. Several segments of the rim are transected by fractures as observed from orbital HiRISE imagery. Pancam multispectral observations of outcrop in these fracture regions, including part of the rim crest dubbed Murray Ridge, the Hueytown fracture, and Marathon Valley have been made. Over the range of 430 to 1010 nm there are changes in the multispectral reflectance signature of the breccia matrix with an increase in 535 nm and 904 nm band depth. This is attributed to oxidation and an increase in ferric oxides in these areas. In situ observations by the rover's APXS also indicate chemical differences associated with the matrix along these fractures, including increasing Fe/Mn southward from Solander Point to a region having an Al-OH signature in CRISM spectra, and generally higher SO3 in the Hueytown fracture region and the area around Spirit of St. Louis. Overturned rocks observed on Murray Ridge were determined by the APXS to have elevated Mn and Pancam spectra of the high Mn spots have a characteristic red, featureless slope. This spectrum was also observed in association with some coatings on blocks of the sulfate-rich Grasberg formation. Spectra resembling red hematite are observed in some zones in association with the craterform feature Spirit of St. Louis outside the mouth (to the west) of Marathon Valley. Marathon Valley itself has been observed from orbital hyperspectral observations by the CRISM sensor to host occurrences of Fe/Mg smectite minerals- indicating extensive aqueous alteration in this

  20. Iron-Rich Carbonates as the Potential Source of Evolved CO2 Detected by the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) Instrument in Gale Crater

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sutter, B.; Heil, E.; Rampe, E. B.; Morris, R. V.; Ming, D. W.; Archer, P. D.; Eigenbrode, J. L.; Franz, H. B.; Glavin, D. P.; McAdam, A. C.; hide

    2015-01-01

    The Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument detected at least 4 distinct CO2 release during the pyrolysis of a sample scooped from the Rocknest (RN) eolian deposit. The highest peak CO2 release temperature (478-502 C) has been attributed to either a Fe-rich carbonate or nano-phase Mg-carbonate. The objective of this experimental study was to evaluate the thermal evolved gas analysis (T/EGA) characteristics of a series of terrestrial Fe-rich carbonates under analog SAM operating conditions to compare with the RN CO2 releases. Natural Fe-rich carbonates (<53 microns) with varying Fe amounts (Fe(0.66)X(0.34)- to Fe(0.99)X(0.01)-CO3, where X refers to Mg and/or Mn) were selected for T/EGA. The carbonates were heated from 25 to 715 C (35 C/min) and evolved CO2 was measured as a function of temperature. The highest Fe containing carbonates (e.g., Fe(0.99)X(0.01)-CO3) yielded CO2 peak temperatures between 466-487 C, which is consistent with the high temperature RN CO2 release. The lower Fe-bearing carbonates (e.g., Fe(0.66)X(0.34)CO3) did not have peak CO2 release temperatures that matched the RN peak CO2 temperatures; however, their entire CO2 releases did occur within RN temperature range of the high temperature CO2 release. Results from this laboratory analog analysis demonstrate that the high temperature RN CO2 release is consistent with Fe-rich carbonate (approx.0.7 to 1 wt.% FeCO3). The similar RN geochemistry with other materials in Gale Crater and elsewhere on Mars (e.g., Gusev Crater, Meridiani) suggests that up to 1 wt. % Fe-rich carbonate may occur throughout the Gale Crater region and could be widespread on Mars. The Rocknest Fe-carbonate may have formed from the interaction of reduced Fe phases (e.g., Fe2+ bearing olivine) with atmospheric CO2 and transient water. Alternatively, the Rocknest Fe-carbonate could be derived by eolian processes that have eroded distally exposed deep crustal material that possesses Fe-carbonate that may have formed through

  1. Formation of Valley Networks in a Cold and Icy Early Mars Climate: Predictions for Erosion Rates and Channel Morphology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cassanelli, J.

    2017-12-01

    Mars is host to a diverse array of valley networks, systems of linear-to-sinuous depressions which are widely distributed across the surface and which exhibit branching patterns similar to the dendritic drainage patterns of terrestrial fluvial systems. Characteristics of the valley networks are indicative of an origin by fluvial activity, providing among the most compelling evidence for the past presence of flowing liquid water on the surface of Mars. Stratigraphic and crater age dating techniques suggest that the formation of the valley networks occurred predominantly during the early geologic history of Mars ( 3.7 Ga). However, whether the valley networks formed predominantly by rainfall in a relatively warm and wet early Mars climate, or by snowmelt and episodic rainfall in an ambient cold and icy climate, remains disputed. Understanding the formative environment of the valley networks will help distinguish between these warm and cold end-member early Mars climate models. Here we test a conceptual model for channel incision and evolution under cold and icy conditions with a substrate characterized by the presence of an ice-free dry active layer and subjacent ice-cemented regolith, similar to that found in the Antarctic McMurdo Dry Valleys. We implement numerical thermal models, quantitative erosion and transport estimates, and morphometric analyses in order to outline predictions for (1) the precise nature and structure of the substrate, (2) fluvial erosion/incision rates, and (3) channel morphology. Model predictions are compared against morphologic and morphometric observational data to evaluate consistency with the assumed cold climate scenario. In the cold climate scenario, the substrate is predicted to be characterized by a kilometers-thick globally-continuous cryosphere below a 50-100 meter thick desiccated ice-free zone. Initial results suggest that, with the predicted substrate structure, fluvial channel erosion and morphology in a cold early Mars

  2. CO2-driven formation of gullies on Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pilorget, Cedric; Forget, François

    2015-11-01

    Since their discovery by the Mars Observer Camera, Martian gullies have attracted considerable attention because they resemble terrestrial debris flows formed by the action of liquid water. This interpretation is now questioned by the discovery of ongoing gully formation occurring in conditions much too cold for liquid water, but with seasonal CO2 frost present and defrosting. However, how a relatively thin seasonal dry ice cover could trigger the formation of decameter large debris flows exhibiting levees and sinuosities as if they were liquid-rich remained mysterious.We have developed an innovative thermo-physical model of the Martian soil able to compute the seasonal evolution of a column composed of an underlying regolith, a CO2 ice layer, and the atmosphere above. Below the surface, in the CO2 ice layer (when present) and in the regolith, the model simultaneously solves the heat conduction, the radiative transfer through the ice as well as the diffusion, condensation and sublimation of CO2 and the related latent heat exchanges.We have found that, during the defrosting season, the pores below the ice layer can be filled with CO2 ice, and subject to extreme pressure variations. The subsequent gas fluxes can destabilize the soil and create gas-lubricated debris flows with the observed geomorphological characteristics of the Martian gullies. In particular the viscosity of such flows can be estimated to range from a few tens to a few thousands of Pa.s, similar to water triggered debris flows and consistent with previous calculations on Martian gullies. Importantly, these gas fluidized debris flows can occur below the theoretical angle of repose, which has been a concern in the understanding of gully landforms formation. We also performed model calculations for a wide range of latitudes and slope orientations. These simulations reveal that high-pressure CO2 gas trapping in the subsurface and the subsequent formation of ice within the regolith pores are predicted at

  3. The Manson impact crater: Estimation of the energy of formation, possible size of the impacting asteroid or comet, and ejecta volume and mass

    Science.gov (United States)

    Roddy, D. J.; Shoemaker, E. M.; Anderson, R. R.

    1993-01-01

    A research program on the Manson impact structure has substantially improved our knowledge of the detailed features of this eroded crater. As part of our structural studies, we have derived a value of 21 km for the diameter of the final transient cavity formed during crater excavation. With this information, we can estimate the energy of formation of the Manson crater and the possible size of the impacting asteroid or comet. In addition, we have estimated the near- and far-field ejecta volumes and masses.

  4. The Investigation of Magnesium Perchlorate/Iron Phase-mineral Mixtures as a Possible Source of Oxygen and Chlorine Detected by the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) Instrument in Gale Crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sutter, B.; Heil, E.; Archer, P. D.; Ming, D. W.; Eigenbrode, J. L.; Franz, H. B.; Glavin, D. P.; McAdam, A. C.; Mahaffy, P. R.; Niles, P. B.; hide

    2014-01-01

    The Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument onboard the Curiosity rover detect-ed O2 and HCl gas releases from the Rocknest (RN) eolian bedform and the John Klein (JK) and Cumber-land (CB) drill hole materials in Gale Crater (Fig. 1) [1,2]. Chlorinated hydrocarbons have also been detect-ed by the SAM quadrupole mass spectrometer (QMS) and gas chromatography/mass spectrometer (GCMS) [1,2,3,4]. These detections along with the detection of perchlorate (ClO4(-)) by the Mars Phoenix Lander's Wet Chemistry Laboratory (WCL) [5] suggesting perchlo-rate is a possible candidate for evolved O2 and chlorine species. Laboratory thermal analysis of individual per-chlorates has yet to provide an unequivocal tempera-ture match to the SAM O2 and HCl release data [1,2]. Catalytic reactions of Fe phases in the Gale Crater ma-terial with perchlorates can potentially reduce the de-composition temperatures of these otherwise pure per-chlorate/chlorate phases [e.g., 6,7]. Iron mineralogy found in the Rocknest materials when mixed with Ca-perchlorate was found to cause O2 release temperatures to be closer match to the SAM O2 release data and enhance HCl gas releases. Exact matches to the SAM data has unfortnunately not been achieved with Ca-perchlorate-Fe-phase mixtures [8]. The effects of Fe-phases on magnesium perchlorate thermal decomposi-tion release of O2 and HCl have not been evaluated and may provide improved matches to the SAM O2 and HCl release data. This work will evaluate the thermal decomposition of magnesium perchlorate mixed with fayalite/magnetite phase and a Mauna Kea palagonite (HWMK 919). The objectives are to 1) summarize O2 and HCl releases from the Gale Crater materials, and 2) evaluate the O2 and HCl releases from the Mg-perchlorate + Fe phase mixtures to determine if Mg-perchlorate mixed with Fe-phases can explain the Gale Crater O2 and HCl releases.

  5. Evolved gas analyses of sedimentary rocks and eolian sediment in Gale Crater, Mars: Results of the Curiosity rover's sample analysis at Mars instrument from Yellowknife Bay to the Namib Dune

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sutter, B.; McAdam, A. C.; Mahaffy, P. R.; Ming, D. W.; Edgett, K. S.; Rampe, E. B.; Eigenbrode, J. L.; Franz, H. B.; Freissinet, C.; Grotzinger, J. P.; Steele, A.; House, C. H.; Archer, P. D.; Malespin, C. A.; Navarro-González, R.; Stern, J. C.; Bell, J. F.; Calef, F. J.; Gellert, R.; Glavin, D. P.; Thompson, L. M.; Yen, A. S.

    2017-12-01

    The sample analysis at Mars instrument evolved gas analyzer (SAM-EGA) has detected evolved water, H2, SO2, H2S, NO, CO2, CO, O2, and HCl from two eolian sediments and nine sedimentary rocks from Gale Crater, Mars. These evolved gas detections indicate nitrates, organics, oxychlorine phase, and sulfates are widespread with phyllosilicates and carbonates occurring in select Gale Crater materials. Coevolved CO2 (160 ± 248-2373 ± 820 μgC(CO2)/g) and CO (11 ± 3-320 ± 130 μgC(CO)/g) suggest that organic C is present in Gale Crater materials. Five samples evolved CO2 at temperatures consistent with carbonate (0.32 ± 0.05-0.70 ± 0.1 wt % CO3). Evolved NO amounts to 0.002 ± 0.007-0.06 ± 0.03 wt % NO3. Evolution of O2 suggests that oxychlorine phases (chlorate/perchlorate) (0.05 ± 0.025-1.05 ± 0.44 wt % ClO4) are present, while SO2 evolution indicates the presence of crystalline and/or poorly crystalline Fe and Mg sulfate and possibly sulfide. Evolved H2O (0.9 ± 0.3-2.5 ± 1.6 wt % H2O) is consistent with the presence of adsorbed water, hydrated salts, interlayer/structural water from phyllosilicates, and possible inclusion water in mineral/amorphous phases. Evolved H2 and H2S suggest that reduced phases occur despite the presence of oxidized phases (nitrate, oxychlorine, sulfate, and carbonate). SAM results coupled with CheMin mineralogical and Alpha-Particle X-ray Spectrometer elemental analyses indicate that Gale Crater sedimentary rocks have experienced a complex authigenetic/diagenetic history involving fluids with varying pH, redox, and salt composition. The inferred geochemical conditions were favorable for microbial habitability and if life ever existed, there was likely sufficient organic C to support a small microbial population.

  6. Using Outcrop Exposures on the Road to Yellowknife Bay to Build a Stratigraphic Column, Gale Crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stack, K. M.; Grotzinger, J. P.; Sumner, D.; Ehlmann, B. L.; Milliken, R. E.; Eigenbrode, J. L.; Gupta, S.; Williams, R. M. E.; Kah, L. C.; Lewis, K. W.

    2013-01-01

    Since landing in Gale Crater on August 5, 2012, the Curiosity rover has driven 450 m east, descending approximately 15 m in elevation from the Bradbury landing site to Yellowknife Bay. Outcrop exposure along this drive has been discontinuous, but isolated outcrops may represent windows into underlying inplace stratigraphy. This study presents an inventory of outcrops targeted by Curiosity (Figs. 1-2), grouped by lithological properties observed in Mastcam and Navcam imagery. Outcrop locations are placed in a stratigraphic context using orbital imagery and first principles of stratigraphy. The stratigraphic models presented here represent an essential first step in understanding the relative age relationships of lithological units encountered at the Curiosity landing site. Such observations will provide crucial context for assessing habitability potential of ancient Gale crater environments and organic matter preservation.

  7. Terrestrial planet formation in a protoplanetary disk with a local mass depletion: A successful scenario for the formation of Mars

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Izidoro, A.; Winter, O. C. [UNESP, Univ. Estadual Paulista - Grupo de Dinâmica Orbital and Planetologia, Guaratinguetá, CEP 12.516-410, São Paulo (Brazil); Haghighipour, N. [Institute for Astronomy and NASA Astrobiology Institute, University of Hawaii-Manoa, Honolulu, HI 96822 (United States); Tsuchida, M., E-mail: izidoro@feg.unesp.br, E-mail: nader@ifa.hawaii.edu [UNESP, Univ. Estadual Paulista, DCCE-IBILCE, São José do Rio Preto, CEP 15.054-000, São Paulo (Brazil)

    2014-02-10

    Models of terrestrial planet formation for our solar system have been successful in producing planets with masses and orbits similar to those of Venus and Earth. However, these models have generally failed to produce Mars-sized objects around 1.5 AU. The body that is usually formed around Mars' semimajor axis is, in general, much more massive than Mars. Only when Jupiter and Saturn are assumed to have initially very eccentric orbits (e ∼ 0.1), which seems fairly unlikely for the solar system, or alternately, if the protoplanetary disk is truncated at 1.0 AU, simulations have been able to produce Mars-like bodies in the correct location. In this paper, we examine an alternative scenario for the formation of Mars in which a local depletion in the density of the protosolar nebula results in a non-uniform formation of planetary embryos and ultimately the formation of Mars-sized planets around 1.5 AU. We have carried out extensive numerical simulations of the formation of terrestrial planets in such a disk for different scales of the local density depletion, and for different orbital configurations of the giant planets. Our simulations point to the possibility of the formation of Mars-sized bodies around 1.5 AU, specifically when the scale of the disk local mass-depletion is moderately high (50%-75%) and Jupiter and Saturn are initially in their current orbits. In these systems, Mars-analogs are formed from the protoplanetary materials that originate in the regions of disk interior or exterior to the local mass-depletion. Results also indicate that Earth-sized planets can form around 1 AU with a substantial amount of water accreted via primitive water-rich planetesimals and planetary embryos. We present the results of our study and discuss their implications for the formation of terrestrial planets in our solar system.

  8. Smectite formation in the presence of sulfuric acid: Implications for acidic smectite formation on early Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Peretyazhko, T. S.; Niles, P. B.; Sutter, B.; Morris, R. V.; Agresti, D. G.; Le, L.; Ming, D. W.

    2018-01-01

    The excess of orbital detection of smectite deposits compared to carbonate deposits on the martian surface presents an enigma because smectite and carbonate formations are both favored alteration products of basalt under neutral to alkaline conditions. We propose that Mars experienced acidic events caused by sulfuric acid (H2SO4) that permitted phyllosilicate, but inhibited carbonate, formation. To experimentally verify this hypothesis, we report the first synthesis of smectite from Mars-analogue glass-rich basalt simulant (66 wt% glass, 32 wt% olivine, 2 wt% chromite) in the presence of H2SO4 under hydrothermal conditions (∼200 °C). Smectites were analyzed by X-ray diffraction, Mössbauer spectroscopy, visible and near-infrared reflectance spectroscopy and electron microprobe to characterize mineralogy and chemical composition. Solution chemistry was determined by Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry. Basalt simulant suspensions in 11-42 mM H2SO4 were acidic with pH ≤ 2 at the beginning of incubation and varied from acidic (pH 1.8) to mildly alkaline (pH 8.4) at the end of incubation. Alteration of glass phase during reaction of the basalt simulant with H2SO4 led to formation of the dioctahedral smectite at final pH ∼3 and trioctahedral smectite saponite at final pH ∼4 and higher. Anhydrite and hematite formed in the final pH range from 1.8 to 8.4 while natroalunite was detected at pH 1.8. Hematite was precipitated as a result of oxidative dissolution of olivine present in Adirondack basalt simulant. Formation of secondary phases, including smectite, resulted in release of variable amounts of Si, Mg, Na and Ca while solubilization of Al and Fe was low. Comparison of mineralogical and solution chemistry data indicated that the type of smectite (i.e., dioctahedral vs trioctahedral) was likely controlled by Mg leaching from altering basalt and substantial Mg loss created favorable conditions for formation of dioctahedral smectite. We present a model

  9. Hydrological Modeling of the Jezero Crater Outlet-Forming Flood

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fassett, Caleb I.; Goudge, Timothy A.

    2017-01-01

    Jezero crater is a site of prime scientific interest because it was a lake early in Mars history. Preserved clay- and carbonate-bearing sedimentary fans on Jezero's western and northwestern margin (Fig. 2) are accessible to future exploration. Geologic context [1] and stratigraphic analysis of the western fan strongly support the interpretation that these fans were deposited as deltas into the lake. This has helped establish Jezero as one of the final candidate landing sites for Mars 2020. The high level of certainty that Jezero was a lake results from the existence of its outlet valley, which required filling of the crater to form [e.g., 1,4]. Here, we specifically focus on how this outlet valley was carved by the dam breach flood that eroded the eastern crater rim. We have completed preliminary modeling in both 1D and 2D of the outlet's formation.

  10. Northern Plains Buried Craters

    Science.gov (United States)

    2004-01-01

    22 December 2003This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image shows three circular features on the martian northern plains near 70.7oN, 311.7oW. These circular features are the locations of meteor impact craters that have been buried beneath the plains. Much of the northern plains shares this story, in which thousands of old craters have been filled or partially filled and then thinly buried beneath textured plains. The picture covers an area 3 km (1.9 mi) wide. Sunlight illuminates the scene from the lower left.

  11. Sulfate Mineral Formation from Acid-Weathered Phyllosilicates: Implications for the Aqueous History of Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Craig, P. I.; Ming, D. W.; Rampe, E. B.; Morris, R. V.

    2015-01-01

    Phyllosilicates on Mars are thought to have formed under neutral to alkaline conditions during Mars' earliest Noachian geologic era (approx. 4.1-3.7 Gya). Sulfate formation, on the other hand, requires more acidic conditions which are thought to have occurred later during Mars' Hesperian era (approx. 3.7-3.0 Gya). Therefore, regions on Mars where phyllosilicates and sulfates are found in close proximity to each other provide evidence for the geologic and aqueous conditions during this global transition. Both phyllosilicates and sulfates form in the presence of water and thus give clues to the aqueous history of Mars and its potential for habitability. Phyllosilicates that formed during the Noachian era may have been weathered by the prevailing acidic conditions that characterize the Hesperian. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to characterize the alteration products resulting from acid-sulfate weathered phyllosilicates in laboratory experiments. This study focuses on two phyllosilicates commonly identified with sulfates on Mars: nontronite and saponite. We also compare our results to observations of phyllosilicates and sulfates on Mars to better understand the formation process of sulfates in close proximity to phyllosilicates on Mars and constrain the aqueous conditions of these regions on Mars.

  12. Retrieval of Compositional End-Members From Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity Observations in a Soil-Filled Fracture in Marathon Valley, Endeavour Crater Rim

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stein, N. T.; Arvidson, R. E.; O'Sullivan, J. A.; Catalano, J. G.; Guinness, E. A.; Politte, D. V.; Gellert, R.; VanBommel, S. J.

    2018-01-01

    The Opportunity rover investigated a gentle swale on the rim of Endeavour crater called Marathon Valley where a series of bright planar outcrops are cut into polygons by fractures. A wheel scuff performed on one of the soil-filled fracture zones revealed the presence of three end-members identified on the basis of Pancam multispectral imaging observations covering 0.4 to 1 μm: red and dark pebbles, and a bright soil clod. Multiple overlapping Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) measurements were collected on three targets within the scuff zone. The field of view of each APXS measurement contained various proportions of the Pancam-based end-members. Application of a log maximum likelihood method for retrieving the composition of the end-members using the 10 APXS measurements shows that the dark pebble end-member is compositionally similar to average Mars soil, with slightly elevated S and Fe. In contrast, the red pebble end-member exhibits enrichments in Al and Si and is depleted in Fe and Mg relative to average Mars soil. The soil clod end-member is enriched in Mg, S, and Ni. Thermodynamic modeling of the soil clod end-member composition indicates a dominance of sulfate minerals. We hypothesize that acidic fluids in fractures leached and oxidized the basaltic host rock, forming the red pebbles, and then evaporated to leave behind sulfate-cemented soil.

  13. Cutting Craters

    Science.gov (United States)

    2003-01-01

    [figure removed for brevity, see original site] Released 12 November 2003The rims of two old and degraded impact craters are intersected by a graben in this THEMIS image taken near Mangala Fossa. Yardangs and low-albedo wind streaks are observed at the top of the image as well as interesting small grooves on the crater floor. The origin of these enigmatic grooves may be the result of mud or lava and volatile interactions. Variable surface textures observed in the bottom crater floor are the result of different aged lava flows.Image information: VIS instrument. Latitude -15.2, Longitude 219.2 East (140.8 West). 19 meter/pixel resolution.Note: this THEMIS visual image has not been radiometrically nor geometrically calibrated for this preliminary release. An empirical correction has been performed to remove instrumental effects. A linear shift has been applied in the cross-track and down-track direction to approximate spacecraft and planetary motion. Fully calibrated and geometrically projected images will be released through the Planetary Data System in accordance with Project policies at a later time. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory manages the 2001 Mars Odyssey mission for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C. The Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) was developed by Arizona State University, Tempe, in collaboration with Raytheon Santa Barbara Remote Sensing. The THEMIS investigation is led by Dr. Philip Christensen at Arizona State University. Lockheed Martin Astronautics, Denver, is the prime contractor for the Odyssey project, and developed and built the orbiter. Mission operations are conducted jointly from Lockheed Martin and from JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

  14. Northern Plains 'Crater'

    Science.gov (United States)

    2004-01-01

    10 December 2004 The lower left (southwest) corner of this Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image shows the location of a somewhat filled and buried meteor impact crater on the northern plains of Mars. The dark dots are boulders. A portion of a similar feature is seen in the upper right (northeast) corner of the image. This picture, showing landforms (including the odd mound north/northeast of the crater) that are typical of the martian northern lowland plains, was obtained as part of the MGS MOC effort to support the search for a landing site for the Phoenix Mars Scout lander. Phoenix will launch in 2007 and land on the northern plains in 2008. This image is located near 68.0oN, 227.4oW, and covers an area approximately 3 km (1.9 mi) wide. The scene is illuminated by sunlight from the lower left.

  15. ChemCam Passive Sky Spectroscopy at Gale Crater, Mars: Interannual Variability in Dust Aerosol Particle Size, Missing Water Vapor, and the Molecular Oxygen Problem

    Science.gov (United States)

    McConnochie, T. H.; Smith, M. D.; Wolff, M. J.; Bender, S. C.; Lemmon, M. T.; Wiens, R. C.; Maurice, S.; Gasnault, O.; Lasue, J.; Meslin, P. Y.; Harri, A. M.; Genzer, M.; Kemppinen, O.; Martinez, G.; DeFlores, L. P.; Blaney, D. L.; Johnson, J. R.; Bell, J. F., III; Trainer, M. G.; Lefèvre, F.; Atreya, S. K.; Mahaffy, P. R.; Wong, M. H.; Franz, H. B.; Guzewich, S.; Villanueva, G. L.; Khayat, A. S.

    2017-12-01

    The Mars Science Laboratory's (MSL) ChemCam spectrometer measures atmospheric aerosol properties and gas abundances by operating in passive mode and observing scattered sky light at two different elevation angles. We have previously [e. g. 1, 2] presented the methodology and results of these ChemCam Passive Sky observations. Here we will focus on three of the more surprising results that we have obtained: (1) depletion of the column water vapor at Gale Crater relative to that of the surrounding region combined with a strong enhancement of the local column water vapor relative to pre-dawn in-situ measurements, (2) an interannual change in the effective particle size of dust aerosol during the aphelion season, and (3) apparent seasonal and interannual variability in molecular oxygen that differs significantly from the expected behavior of a non-condensable trace gas and differs significantly from global climate model expectations. The ChemCam passive sky water vapor measurements are quite robust but their interpretation depends on the details of measurements as well as on the types of water vapor vertical distributions that can be produced by climate models. We have a high degree of confidence in the dust particle size changes but since aerosol results in general are subject to a variety of potential systematic effects our particle size results would benefit from confirmation by other techniques [c.f. 3]. For the ChemCam passive sky molecular oxygen results we are still working to constrain the uncertainties well enough to confirm the observed surprising behavior, motivated by similarly surprising atmospheric molecular oxygen variability observed by MSL's Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument [4]. REFERENCES: [1] McConnochie, et al. (2017), Icarus (submitted). [2] McConnochie, et al. (2017), abstract # 3201, The 6th International Workshop on the Mars Atmosphere: Granada, Spain. [3] Vicente-Retortillo et al. (2017), GRL, 44. [4] Trainer et al. (2017), 2017 AGU Fall

  16. Cracked Plain, Buried Craters

    Science.gov (United States)

    2004-01-01

    4 September 2004 This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image shows a cracked plain in western Utopia Planitia. The three circular crack patterns indicate the location of three buried meteor impact craters. These landforms are located near 41.9oN, 275.9oW. The image covers an area approximately 3 km (1.9 mi) across. Sunlight illuminates this scene from the lower left.

  17. Wind Streak and Crater

    Science.gov (United States)

    2004-01-01

    23 February 2004 This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image shows a wind streak developed in the lee of a meteor impact crater in western Daedalia Planum. The dominant winds responsible for the streak blew from the bottom/lower right (southeast). The image is located near 9.9oS, 144.9oW. Sunlight illuminates the scene from the lower left; the picture covers an area 3 km (1.9 mi) wide.

  18. Chemistry, mineralogy, and grain properties at Namib and High dunes, Bagnold dune field, Gale crater, Mars: A synthesis of Curiosity rover observations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ehlmann, B. L.; Edgett, K. S.; Sutter, B.; Achilles, C. N.; Litvak, M. L.; Lapotre, M. G. A.; Sullivan, R.; Fraeman, A. A.; Arvidson, R. E.; Blake, D. F.; Bridges, N. T.; Conrad, P. G.; Cousin, A.; Downs, R. T.; Gabriel, T. S. J.; Gellert, R.; Hamilton, V. E.; Hardgrove, C.; Johnson, J. R.; Kuhn, S.; Mahaffy, P. R.; Maurice, S.; McHenry, M.; Meslin, P.-Y.; Ming, D. W.; Minitti, M. E.; Morookian, J. M.; Morris, R. V.; O'Connell-Cooper, C. D.; Pinet, P. C.; Rowland, S. K.; Schröder, S.; Siebach, K. L.; Stein, N. T.; Thompson, L. M.; Vaniman, D. T.; Vasavada, A. R.; Wellington, D. F.; Wiens, R. C.; Yen, A. S.

    2017-12-01

    The Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover performed coordinated measurements to examine the textures and compositions of aeolian sands in the active Bagnold dune field. The Bagnold sands are rounded to subrounded, very fine to medium sized ( 45-500 μm) with ≥6 distinct grain colors. In contrast to sands examined by Curiosity in a dust-covered, inactive bedform called Rocknest and soils at other landing sites, Bagnold sands are darker, less red, better sorted, have fewer silt-sized or smaller grains, and show no evidence for cohesion. Nevertheless, Bagnold mineralogy and Rocknest mineralogy are similar with plagioclase, olivine, and pyroxenes in similar proportions comprising >90% of crystalline phases, along with a substantial amorphous component (35% ± 15%). Yet Bagnold and Rocknest bulk chemistry differ. Bagnold sands are Si enriched relative to other soils at Gale crater, and H2O, S, and Cl are lower relative to all previously measured Martian soils and most Gale crater rocks. Mg, Ni, Fe, and Mn are enriched in the coarse-sieved fraction of Bagnold sands, corroborated by visible/near-infrared spectra that suggest enrichment of olivine. Collectively, patterns in major element chemistry and volatile release data indicate two distinctive volatile reservoirs in Martian soils: (1) amorphous components in the sand-sized fraction (represented by Bagnold) that are Si-enriched, hydroxylated alteration products and/or H2O- or OH-bearing impact or volcanic glasses and (2) amorphous components in the fine fraction (<40 μm represented by Rocknest and other bright soils) that are Fe, S, and Cl enriched with low Si and adsorbed and structural H2O.

  19. Lithostratigraphy of the Calico Hills Formation and Prow Pass Tuff (Crater Flat Group) at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Moyer, T.C.; Geslin, J.K. [Science Applications International Corp., Las Vegas, NV (United States)

    1995-07-01

    Lithostratigraphic relations within the Calico Hills Formation and Prow Pass Tuff (Crater Flat Group) were reconstructed from analysis of core samples and observation of outcrop exposures. The Calico Hills Formation is composed of five nonwelded pyroclastic units (each formed of one or more pyroclastic-flow deposits) that overlie an interval of bedded tuff and a basal volcaniclastic sandstone unit. The Prow Pass Tuff is divided into four pyroclastic units and an underlying interval of bedded tuff. The pyroclastic units of the Prow Pass Tuff are distinguished by the sizes and amounts of their pumice and lithic clasts and their degree of welding. Pyroclastic units of the Prow Pass Tuff are distinguished from those of the Calico Hills Formation by their phenocryst assemblage, chemical composition, and ubiquitous siltstone lithic clasts. Downhole resistivity tends to mirror the content of authigenic minerals, primarily zeolites, in both for-mations and may be useful for recognizing the vitric-zeolite boundary in the study area. Maps of zeolite distribution illustrate that the bedded tuff and basal sandstone units of the Calico Hills Formation are altered over a wider area than the pyroclastic units of both the Calico Hills Formation and the upper Prow Pass Tuff.

  20. Lithostratigraphy of the Calico Hills Formation and Prow Pass Tuff (Crater Flat Group) at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Moyer, T.C.; Geslin, J.K.

    1995-01-01

    Lithostratigraphic relations within the Calico Hills Formation and Prow Pass Tuff (Crater Flat Group) were reconstructed from analysis of core samples and observation of outcrop exposures. The Calico Hills Formation is composed of five nonwelded pyroclastic units (each formed of one or more pyroclastic-flow deposits) that overlie an interval of bedded tuff and a basal volcaniclastic sandstone unit. The Prow Pass Tuff is divided into four pyroclastic units and an underlying interval of bedded tuff. The pyroclastic units of the Prow Pass Tuff are distinguished by the sizes and amounts of their pumice and lithic clasts and their degree of welding. Pyroclastic units of the Prow Pass Tuff are distinguished from those of the Calico Hills Formation by their phenocryst assemblage, chemical composition, and ubiquitous siltstone lithic clasts. Downhole resistivity tends to mirror the content of authigenic minerals, primarily zeolites, in both for-mations and may be useful for recognizing the vitric-zeolite boundary in the study area. Maps of zeolite distribution illustrate that the bedded tuff and basal sandstone units of the Calico Hills Formation are altered over a wider area than the pyroclastic units of both the Calico Hills Formation and the upper Prow Pass Tuff

  1. Late Tharsis formation and implications for early Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bouley, Sylvain; Baratoux, David; Matsuyama, Isamu; Forget, Francois; Séjourné, Antoine; Turbet, Martin; Costard, Francois

    2016-03-01

    The Tharsis region is the largest volcanic complex on Mars and in the Solar System. Young lava flows cover its surface (from the Amazonian period, less than 3 billion years ago) but its growth started during the Noachian era (more than 3.7 billion years ago). Its position has induced a reorientation of the planet with respect to its spin axis (true polar wander, TPW), which is responsible for the present equatorial position of the volcanic province. It has been suggested that the Tharsis load on the lithosphere influenced the orientation of the Noachian/Early Hesperian (more than 3.5 billion years ago) valley networks and therefore that most of the topography of Tharsis was completed before fluvial incision. Here we calculate the rotational figure of Mars (that is, its equilibrium shape) and its surface topography before Tharsis formed, when the spin axis of the planet was controlled by the difference in elevation between the northern and southern hemispheres (hemispheric dichotomy). We show that the observed directions of valley networks are also consistent with topographic gradients in this configuration and thus do not require the presence of the Tharsis load. Furthermore, the distribution of the valleys along a small circle tilted with respect to the equator is found to correspond to a southern-hemisphere latitudinal band in the pre-TPW geographical frame. Preferential accumulation of ice or water in a south tropical band is predicted by climate model simulations of early Mars applied to the pre-TPW topography. A late growth of Tharsis, contemporaneous with valley incision, has several implications for the early geological history of Mars, including the existence of glacial environments near the locations of the pre-TPW poles of rotation, and a possible link between volcanic outgassing from Tharsis and the stability of liquid water at the surface of Mars.

  2. Sulphur-bearing Compounds Detected by MSL SAM Evolved Gas Analysis of Materials from Yellowknife Bay, Gale Crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    McAdam, A. C.; Franz, H. B.; Archer, P. D. Jr.; Sutter, B.; Eigenbrode, J. L.; Freissinet, C.; Atreya, S. K.; Bish, D. L.; Blake, D. F.; Brunner, A.; hide

    2014-01-01

    The Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) and Chemistry and Mineralogy (CheMin) instruments on the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) analysed several subsamples of sample fines (analysis (EGA) mass spectrometry detected H2O, CO2, O2, H2, SO2, H2S, HCl, NO, OCS, CS2 and other trace gases. The identity of evolved gases and temperature (T) of evolution can support mineral detection by CheMin and place constraints on trace volatile-bearing phases present below the CheMin detection limit or difficult to characterize with XRD (e.g., X-ray amorphous phases). Here, we focus on potential constraints on phases that evolved SO2, H2S, OCS, and CS2 during thermal analysis.

  3. Comparing orbiter and rover image-based mapping of an ancient sedimentary environment, Aeolis Palus, Gale crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stack, Kathryn M.; Edwards, Christopher; Grotzinger, J. P.; Gupta, S.; Sumner, D.; Edgar, Lauren; Fraeman, A.; Jacob, S.; LeDeit, L.; Lewis, K.W.; Rice, M.S.; Rubin, D.; Calef, F.; Edgett, K.; Williams, R.M.E.; Williford, K.H.

    2016-01-01

    This study provides the first systematic comparison of orbital facies maps with detailed ground-based geology observations from the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Curiosity rover to examine the validity of geologic interpretations derived from orbital image data. Orbital facies maps were constructed for the Darwin, Cooperstown, and Kimberley waypoints visited by the Curiosity rover using High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) images. These maps, which represent the most detailed orbital analysis of these areas to date, were compared with rover image-based geologic maps and stratigraphic columns derived from Curiosity’s Mast Camera (Mastcam) and Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI). Results show that bedrock outcrops can generally be distinguished from unconsolidated surficial deposits in high-resolution orbital images and that orbital facies mapping can be used to recognize geologic contacts between well-exposed bedrock units. However, process-based interpretations derived from orbital image mapping are difficult to infer without known regional context or observable paleogeomorphic indicators, and layer-cake models of stratigraphy derived from orbital maps oversimplify depositional relationships as revealed from a rover perspective. This study also shows that fine-scale orbital image-based mapping of current and future Mars landing sites is essential for optimizing the efficiency and science return of rover surface operations.

  4. Wind-driven particle mobility on Mars: Insights from Mars Exploration Rover observations at "El Dorado" and surroundings at Gusev Crater

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sullivan, R.; Arvidson, R.; Bell, J.F.; Gellert, Ralf; Golombek, M.; Greeley, R.; Herkenhoff, K.; Johnson, J.; Thompson, S.; Whelley, P.; Wray, J.

    2008-01-01

    The ripple field known as 'El Dorado' was a unique stop on Spirit's traverse where dust-raising, active mafic sand ripples and larger inactive coarse-grained ripples interact, illuminating several long-standing issues of Martian dust mobility, sand mobility, and the origin of transverse aeolian ridges. Strong regional wind events endured by Spirit caused perceptible migration of ripple crests in deposits SSE of El Dorado, erasure of tracks in sandy areas, and changes to dust mantling the site. Localized thermal vortices swept across El Dorado, leaving paths of reduced dust but without perceptibly damaging nearly cohesionless sandy ripple crests. From orbit, winds responsible for frequently raising clay-sized dust into the atmosphere do not seem to significantly affect dunes composed of (more easily entrained) sand-sized particles, a long-standing paradox. This disparity between dust mobilization and sand mobilization on Mars is due largely to two factors: (1) dust occurs on the surface as fragile, low-density, sand-sized aggregates that are easily entrained and disrupted, compared with clay-sized air fall particles; and (2) induration of regolith is pervasive. Light-toned bed forms investigated at Gusev are coarse-grained ripples, an interpretation we propose for many of the smallest linear, light-toned bed forms of uncertain origin seen in high-resolution orbital images across Mars. On Earth, wind can organize bimodal or poorly sorted loose sediment into coarse-grained ripples. Coarse-grained ripples could be relatively common on Mars because development of durable, well-sorted sediments analogous to terrestrial aeolian quartz sand deposits is restricted by the lack of free quartz and limited hydraulic sediment processing. Copyright 2008 by the American Geophysical Union.

  5. Mars

    CERN Document Server

    Day, Trevor

    2006-01-01

    Discusses the fundamental facts concerning this mysterious planet, including its mass, size, and atmosphere, as well as the various missions that helped planetary scientists document the geological history of Mars. This volume also describes Mars'' seasons with their surface effects on the planet and how they have changed over time.

  6. Polygons and Craters

    Science.gov (United States)

    2005-01-01

    3 September 2005 This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image shows polygons enhanced by subliming seasonal frost in the martian south polar region. Polygons similar to these occur in frozen ground at high latitudes on Earth, suggesting that perhaps their presence on Mars is also a sign that there is or once was ice in the shallow subsurface. The circular features are degraded meteor impact craters. Location near: 72.2oS, 310.3oW Image width: width: 3 km (1.9 mi) Illumination from: upper left Season: Southern Spring

  7. Maghemite Formation via Organics and the Prospect for Maghemite as a Biomarker Mineral on Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bishop, Janice; Mancinelli, R. L.; Madsen, M. B.; Zent, A. P.

    2000-01-01

    One of the major questions on Mars is the origin of the magnetic component in the surface material. Our work on maghemite formation suggests that alteration of femhydrite in the presence of organics would provide a plausible formation scenario for this magnetic soil component and further suggests that maghemite might be an important biomarker mineral on Mars. Identification of biomarker minerals is an important aspect of Astrobiology . The iron oxide mineral maghemite is thought to be one of the magnetic components in the Martian surface material; however, it is a rare mineral on the Earth and requires a reducing agent for synthesis. Organic material serves as a reductant in maghemite formation during forest fires on Earth and may play an important role in maghemite formation on Mars through low-temperature heating (e.g., volcanism, impacts). This study involves analysis of magnetite, maghemite and hematite formation under Martian environmental conditions from femhydrite in the presence and absence of organics. A dehydrated version of the mineral femhydrite is thought to be present in Martian soil/dust grains and could have formed at an earlier time on Mars when water was present. Our work indicates that low-temperature alteration of femhydrite in the presence of organic material could be an important mechanism on Mars.

  8. Secondary chaotic terrain formation in the higher outflow channels of southern circum-Chryse, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rodriguez, J.A.P.; Kargel, J.S.; Tanaka, K.L.; Crown, D.A.; Berman, D.C.; Fairen, A.G.; Baker, V.R.; Furfaro, R.; Candelaria, P.; Sasaki, S.

    2011-01-01

    . Within relatively warm upper crustal materials in volcanic settings, or within highly saline crustal materials where cryopegs developed, lenses of volatiles in liquid form within the cryolithosphere could have formed, and/or remained stable.In addition, our numerical simulations suggest that low thermal conductivity, dry fine-grained porous geologic materials just a few tens of meters in thickness (e.g., dunes, sand sheets, some types of regolith materials), could have produced high thermal anomalies resulting in subsurface melting. The existence of a global layer of dry geologic materials overlying the cryolithosphere would suggest that widespread lenses of fluids existed (and may still exist) at shallow depths wherever these materials are fine-grained and porous. The surface ages of the investigated outflow channels and chaotic terrains span a full 500 to 700. Myr. Chaotic terrains similar in dimensions and morphology to secondary chaotic terrains are not observed conspicuously throughout the surface of Mars, suggesting that intra-cryolithospheric fluid lenses may form relatively stable systems. The existence of widespread groundwater lenses at shallow depths of burial has tremendous implications for exobiological studies and future human exploration. We find that the clear geomorphologic anomaly that the chaotic terrains and outflow channels of southern Chryse form within the Martian landscape could have been a consequence of large-scale resurfacing resulting from anomalously extensive subsurface melt in this region of the planet produced by high concentrations of salts within the regional upper crust. Crater count statistics reveal that secondary chaotic terrains and the outflow channels within which they occur have overlapping ages, suggesting that the instabilities leading to their formation rapidly dissipated, perhaps as the thickness of the cryolithosphere was reset following the disruption of the upper crustal thermal structure produced during outflow channel ex

  9. Late Noachian and early Hesperian ridge systems in the south circumpolar Dorsa Argentea Formation, Mars: Evidence for two stages of melting of an extensive late Noachian ice sheet

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kress, Ailish M.; Head, James W.

    2015-05-01

    The Dorsa Argentea Formation (DAF), extending from 270°-100° E and 70°-90° S, is a huge circumpolar deposit surrounding and underlying the Late Amazonian South Polar Layered Deposits (SPLD) of Mars. Currently mapped as Early-Late Hesperian in age, the Dorsa Argentea Formation has been interpreted as volatile-rich, possibly representing the remnants of an ancient polar ice cap. Uncertain are its age (due to the possibility of poor crater retention in ice-related deposits), its mode of origin, the origin of the distinctive sinuous ridges and cavi that characterize the unit, and its significance in the climate history of Mars. In order to assess the age of activity associated with the DAF, we examined the ridge populations within the Dorsa Argentea Formation, mapping and characterizing seven different ridge systems (composed of nearly 4,000 ridges covering a total area of ~300,000 km2, with a cumulative length of ridges of ~51,000 km) and performing crater counts on them using the method of buffered crater counting to determine crater retention ages of the ridge populations. We examined the major characteristics of the ridge systems and found that the majority of them were consistent with an origin as eskers, sediment-filled subglacial drainage channels. Ridge morphologies reflect both distributed and channelized esker systems, and evidence is also seen that some ridges form looping moraine-like termini distal to some distributed systems. The ridge populations fall into two age groups: ridge systems between 270° and 0° E date to the Early Hesperian, but to the east, the Promethei Planum and the Chasmata ridge systems date to the Late Noachian. Thus, these ages, and esker and moraine-like morphologies, support the interpretation that the DAF is a remnant ice sheet deposit, and that the esker systems represent evidence of significant melting and drainage of meltwater from portions of this ice sheet, thus indicating at least some regions and/or periods of wet

  10. Monte Carlo prediction of crater formation by single ion impact on solid surface

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Perez-Martin, A.M.C.; Dominguez-Vazquez, J.; Jimenez-Rodriguez, J.J.; Collins, R.; Gras-Marti, A.

    1994-01-01

    A method is presented for predicting the topography changes following the impact of one energetic ion on the plane surface of a monatomic amorphous solid. This is done in two stages. The first is a Monte Carlo calculation of the sputter yield and interior distribution relocated atoms, with no compensation for local departures from equilibrium density. In the second stage there is a systematic relaxation of the solid, in which the density returns to its previous constant value and a crater develops in the surface. Two alternative methods of carrying out stage two are compared. In the first the solid is subdivided into cells within which relaxation is carried out normal to the surface, as in previous one-dimensional studies. The second method treats the solid as a 3-dimensional incompressible medium. Both seem to reproduce quite well the main features found experimentally. (orig.)

  11. Evidence of phyllosilicates in Wooly Patch, an altered rock encountered at West Spur, Columbia Hills, by the Spirit rover in Gusev crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, A.; Korotev, R.L.; Jolliff, B.L.; Haskin, L.A.; Crumpler, L.; Farrand, W. H.; Herkenhoff, K. E.; de Souza, Jr.; Kusack, A.G.; Hurowitz, J.A.; Tosca, N.J.

    2006-01-01

    On its traverse to Columbia Hills, the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit investigated an outcrop designated "Wooly Patch" that exhibited morphological, mineralogical, and geochemical characteristics at the extreme ends of ranges observed among rocks studied at West Spur, a westward projecting salient near the foot of the Columbia Hills, Gusev crater. The major-element composition and Fe-mineralogy, as determined by the Alpha-Particle X-ray Spectrometer and Mo??ssbauer Spectrometer, are inconsistent with any reasonable assemblage of basaltic minerals in that there is an excess of Si and Al. The combined data are best explained by the presence of 14-17% phyllosilicate minerals. Phyllosilicates that account for the composition and cation ratios include members of the kaolinite, serpentine, chlorite, and septechlorite groups. The potential existence of kaolinite-type Al-rich phyllosilicates within the Wooly Patch outcrop suggests a mildly acidic environment (pH 4-6) in the past and an open hydrologic system with good drainage conditions in the environment where these rocks were altered. Copyright 2006 by the American Geophysical Union.

  12. Mars

    CERN Document Server

    Payment, Simone

    2017-01-01

    This curriculum-based, fun, and approachable book offers everything young readers need to know to begin their study of the Red Planet. They will learn about the fundamental aspects of the Mars, including its size, mass, surface features, interior, orbit, and spin. Further, they will learn about the history of the missions to Mars, including the Viking spacecraft and the Curiosity and MAVEN rovers. Finally, readers will learn about why scientists think there's a chance that Mars is or was suitable for life. With stunning imagery from NASA itself, readers will have a front seat-view of the missi

  13. Chemical variations in Yellowknife Bay formation sedimentary rocks analyzed by ChemCam on board the Curiosity rover on Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mangold, Nicolas; Forni, Olivier; Dromart, G.; Stack, K.M.; Wiens, Roger C.; Gasnault, Olivier; Sumner, Dawn Y.; Nachon, Marion; Meslin, Pierre-Yves; Anderson, Ryan B.; Barraclough, Bruce; Bell, J.F.; Berger, G.; Blaney, D.L.; Bridges, J.C.; Calef, F.; Clark, Brian R.; Clegg, Samuel M.; Cousin, Agnes; Edgar, L.; Edgett, Kenneth S.; Ehlmann, B.L.; Fabre, Cecile; Fisk, M.; Grotzinger, John P.; Gupta, S.C.; Herkenhoff, Kenneth E.; Hurowitz, J.A.; Johnson, J. R.; Kah, Linda C.; Lanza, Nina L.; Lasue, Jeremie; Le Mouélic, S.; Lewin, Eric; Malin, Michael; McLennan, Scott M.; Maurice, S.; Melikechi, Noureddine; Mezzacappa, Alissa; Milliken, Ralph E.; Newsome, H.L.; Ollila, A.; Rowland, Scott K.; Sautter, Violaine; Schmidt, M.E.; Schroder, S.; D'Uston, C.; Vaniman, Dave; Williams, R.A.

    2015-01-01

    The Yellowknife Bay formation represents a ~5 m thick stratigraphic section of lithified fluvial and lacustrine sediments analyzed by the Curiosity rover in Gale crater, Mars. Previous works have mainly focused on the mudstones that were drilled by the rover at two locations. The present study focuses on the sedimentary rocks stratigraphically above the mudstones by studying their chemical variations in parallel with rock textures. Results show that differences in composition correlate with textures and both manifest subtle but significant variations through the stratigraphic column. Though the chemistry of the sediments does not vary much in the lower part of the stratigraphy, the variations in alkali elements indicate variations in the source material and/or physical sorting, as shown by the identification of alkali feldspars. The sandstones contain similar relative proportions of hydrogen to the mudstones below, suggesting the presence of hydrous minerals that may have contributed to their cementation. Slight variations in magnesium correlate with changes in textures suggesting that diagenesis through cementation and dissolution modified the initial rock composition and texture simultaneously. The upper part of the stratigraphy (~1 m thick) displays rocks with different compositions suggesting a strong change in the depositional system. The presence of float rocks with similar compositions found along the rover traverse suggests that some of these outcrops extend further away in the nearby hummocky plains.

  14. High-Resolution Textures of Soils and Rocks at Gusev Crater and Meridiani Planum From the Mars Exploration Rover Microscopic Imagers

    Science.gov (United States)

    Herkenhoff, K. E.

    2004-12-01

    The Microscopic Imagers on the Spirit and Opportunity rovers have returned images of Mars with higher resolution than any previous camera system, allowing detailed petrographic and sedimentological studies of the rocks and soils at the Gusev and Meridiani landing sites. The Microscopic Imager (MI) is a fixed-focus camera mounted on the robotic arm of each Mars Exploration Rover (MER). The MI was designed to function like a geologist's hand lens, acquiring images at a scale of 31 microns/pixel over a broad spectral range (400-700 nm). The MI provides critical documentation of the constitution and texture of targets analyzed by the other MER in-situ instruments. The MI on the Spirit rover found weakly bound agglomerates of dust in the soil near the Columbia Memorial Station. Bedforms have coarser particles at their crests and finer grains in the troughs, like eolian ripples on Earth. Some of the brushed or abraded rock surfaces show igneous textures and evidence for alteration rinds, coatings, and veins consistent with secondary mineralization. The textures of rocks on the floor of Gusev crater are consistent with a volcanic origin and subsequent alteration and/or weathering by impact events, wind and possibly water. MI observations in the ''Columbia Hills'' are consistent with interpretations, based on syntheses of various MER data, that the rocks there are more altered than those on the floor of Gusev. The MI on the Opportunity rover has returned images of the Meridiani landing site that include evidence for both surface and ground water activity in Mars' ancient past. Soil particles imaged by the MI show constituents typical of windblown materials. The uppermost millimeter of some soils is weakly cemented, probably by salts precipitated from evaporating brines. Rock outcrops are laminated on a millimeter scale; image mosaics of cross-stratification suggest that some sediments were deposited by flowing water. Vugs in some outcrop faces are probably molds formed by

  15. The Investigation of Chlorate/Iron-Phase Mixtures as a Possible Source of Oxygen and Chlorine Detected by the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) Instrument in Gale Crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Clark, J.; Sutter, B.; Morris, R. V.; Archer, P. D.; Ming, D. W.; Niles, P.; Mahaffy, P.; Navarro-Gonzalez, R.

    2016-01-01

    The Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument on board the Curiosity Rover has detected oxygen and HCl gas releases from all analyzed Gale Crater sediments. The presence of perchlorate ClO4(sup-) and/or chlorates ClO3(sup-) are potential sources of the aforementioned O2 releases. The detections of O2 and HCl gas releases and chlorinated hydrocarbons by SAM coupled with the detection of perchlorates by Phoenix Lander's 2008 Wet Chemistry Laboratory all suggest that perchlorates, and possibly chorates, may be present in the Gale Crater sediments. Previous laboratory studies have attempted to replicate these O2 releases by heating perchlorates and chlorates in instruments operated similarly to those in the SAM instrument. Early studies found that pure perchlorates release O2 at temperatures higher than those observed in SAM data. Subsequently, studies were done to test the effects of mixing iron-phase minerals, analogous to those detected on Mars by ChemMin, with perchlorates. The iron in these minerals acts as a catalyst and causes O2 to be released from the perchlorate at a lower temperature. These studies found that perchlorate solutions mixed with either Hawaii palagonite or ferrihydrite produce O2 releases at temperatures similar to the Rocknest (RN) windblown deposit and the John Klein (JK) drill sample from the Sheepbed mudstone. The study also determined that perchlorate mixtures with magnetite, hematite, fayalite-magnetite, ilmentite, and pyrrhotite produce O2 releases at temperatures similar to the Confidence Hills (CH) drill sample from the Murray mudstone. Oxygen re-leases from pure chlorates were recently compared with the SAM data. Laboratory analyses determined that Ca-chlorate produces O2 and HCl peaks that are similar to those detected in RN and JK materials. Currently, no perchlorate/chlorate mixture with iron-phase minerals can explain the O2 releases from either the Cumberland (CB) drill sample from the Sheepbed mudstone or Windjana (WJ) drill

  16. The self-secondary crater population of the Hokusai crater on Mercury

    Science.gov (United States)

    Xiao, Zhiyong; Prieur, Nils C.; Werner, Stephanie C.

    2016-07-01

    Whether or not self-secondaries dominate small crater populations on continuous ejecta deposits and floors of fresh impact craters has long been a controversy. This issue potentially affects the age determination technique using crater statistics. Here the self-secondary crater population on the continuous ejecta deposits of the Hokusai crater on Mercury is unambiguously recognized. Superposition relationships show that this population was emplaced after both the ballistic sedimentation of excavation flows and the subsequent veneering of impact melt, but it predated the settlement and solidification of melt pools on the crater floor. Fragments that formed self-secondaries were launched via impact spallation with large angles. Complex craters on the Moon, Mercury, and Mars probably all have formed self-secondaries populations. Dating young craters using crater statistics on their continuous ejecta deposits can be misleading. Impact melt pools are less affected by self-secondaries. Overprint by subsequent crater populations with time reduces the predominance of self-secondaries.

  17. Formation of topographically inverted fluvial deposits on Earth and Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hayden, A.; Lamb, M. P.; Fischer, W. W.; Ewing, R. C.; McElroy, B. J.

    2016-12-01

    Sinuous ridges interpreted as exhumed river deposits (so-called "inverted channels") are common features on Mars that show promise for quantifying ancient martian surface hydrology. Morphological similarity of these inverted channels to river channels led to a "landscape inversion hypothesis" in which the geometries of ridges and ridge networks accurately reflect the geometries of the paleo-river channels and networks. An alternative "deposit inversion hypothesis" proposes that ridges represent eroded fluvial channel-belt deposits with channel-body geometries that may differ significantly from those of the rivers that built the deposit. To investigate these hypotheses we studied the sedimentology and morphology of inverted channels in Jurassic and Cretaceous outcrops in Utah and the Aeolis Dorsa region of Mars. Ridges in Utah extend for hundreds of meters, are tens of meters wide, and stand up to 30 meters above the surrounding plain. A thick ribbon-geometry sandstone or conglomerate body caps overbank mudstone, paleosols, and thin crevasse-splay sandstone beds. Caprock beds consist of stacked dune- to bar-scale trough cross sets, mud intraclasts, and in cases scroll bars indicating meandering. In plan view, ridge networks bifurcate; however, crosscutting relationships show that distinct sandstone channel bodies at distinct stratigraphic levels intersect at these junctions. Ridge-forming sandstone bodies have been narrowed from their original dimensions by cliff retreat and bisected by modern fluvial erosion and mass wasting. We therefore interpret the sinuous ridges in Utah as eroded remnants of channel-belt sandstone bodies formed by laterally migrating and avulsing rivers rather than channel fills - consistent with deposit inversion. If the sinuous ridges in Aeolis Dorsa also formed by deposit inversion, river widths previously interpreted under the landscape inversion hypothesis are overestimated by up to a factor of 10 and discharges by up to a factor of 100.

  18. Silica-rich deposits and hydrated minerals at Gusev Crater, Mars: Vis-NIR spectral characterization and regional mapping

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rice, M.S.; Bell, J.F.; Cloutis, E.A.; Wang, A.; Ruff, S.W.; Craig, M.A.; Bailey, D.T.; Johnson, J. R.; De Souza, P.A.; Farrand, W. H.

    2010-01-01

    The Mars Exploration Rover (MER) Spirit has discovered surprisingly high concentrations of amorphous silica in soil and nodular outcrops in the Inner Basin of the Columbia Hills. In Pancam multispectral observations, we find that an absorption feature at the longest Pancam wavelength (1009 nm) appears to be characteristic of these silica-rich materials; however, spectral analyses of amorphous silica suggest that the ???1009 nm spectral feature is not a direct reflection of their silica-rich nature. Based on comparisons with spectral databases, we hypothesize that the presence of H2O or OH, either free (as water ice), adsorbed or bound in a mineral structure, is responsible for the spectral feature observed by Pancam. The Gertrude Weise soil, which is nearly pure opaline silica, may have adsorbed water cold-trapped on mineral grains. The origin of the ???1009 nm Pancam feature observed in the silica-rich nodular outcrops may result from the presence of additional hydrated minerals (specific sulfates, halides, chlorides, sodium silicates, carbonates or borates). Using the ???1009 nm feature with other spectral parameters as a "hydration signature" we have mapped the occurrence of hydrated materials along the extent of Spirit's traverse across the Columbia Hills from West Spur to Home Plate (sols 155-1696). We have also mapped this hydration signature across large panoramic images to understand the regional distribution of materials that are spectrally similar to the silica-rich soil and nodular outcrops. Our results suggest that hydrated materials are common in the Columbia Hills. ?? 2009 Elsevier Inc.

  19. Visible/near-infrared spectral diversity from in situ observations of the Bagnold Dune Field sands in Gale Crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Johnson, Jeffrey R.; Achilles, Cherie; Bell, James F.; Bender, Steve; Cloutis, Edward; Ehlmann, Bethany; Fraeman, Abigail; Gasnault, Olivier; Hamilton, Victoria E.; Le Mouélic, Stéphane; Maurice, Sylvestre; Pinet, Patrick; Thompson, Lucy; Wellington, Danika; Wiens, Roger C.

    2017-12-01

    As part of the Bagnold Dune campaign conducted by Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity, visible/near-infrared reflectance spectra of dune sands were acquired using Mast Camera (Mastcam) multispectral imaging (445-1013 nm) and Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) passive point spectroscopy (400-840 nm). By comparing spectra from pristine and rover-disturbed ripple crests and troughs within the dune field, and through analysis of sieved grain size fractions, constraints on mineral segregation from grain sorting could be determined. In general, the dune areas exhibited low relative reflectance, a weak 530 nm absorption band, an absorption band near 620 nm, and a spectral downturn after 685 nm consistent with olivine-bearing sands. The finest grain size fractions occurred within ripple troughs and in the subsurface and typically exhibited the strongest 530 nm bands, highest relative reflectances, and weakest red/near-infrared ratios, consistent with a combination of crystalline and amorphous ferric materials. Coarser-grained samples were the darkest and bluest and exhibited weaker 530 nm bands, lower relative reflectances, and stronger downturns in the near-infrared, consistent with greater proportions of mafic minerals such as olivine and pyroxene. These grains were typically segregated along ripple crests and among the upper surfaces of grain flows in disturbed sands. Sieved dune sands exhibited progressive decreases in reflectance with increasing grain size, as observed in laboratory spectra of olivine size separates. The continuum of spectral features observed between the coarse- and fine-grained dune sands suggests that mafic grains, ferric materials, and air fall dust mix in variable proportions depending on aeolian activity and grain sorting.

  20. The Stickney Crater ejecta secondary impact crater spike on Phobos: Implications for the age of Stickney and the surface of Phobos

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ramsley, Kenneth R.; Head, James W.

    2017-04-01

    A global and uniformly distributed spike of secondary impact craters on Phobos with diameters (D) craters up to D 2 km were produced by Stickney Crater ejecta, including secondary craters within the surface area of Stickney Crater. The global exposure of Phobos to Stickney secondary impacts was facilitated by the desynchronized orbital/rotational period of Phobos that was produced by the impulse of the Stickney impact event. In our model we apply the Tsiolkovsky rocket equation to calculate the total available Stickney impact acceleration impulse delta-v (Δv) and further calculate the effective impulse by incorporating the energy conversion inefficiencies of the crater formation process. We also calculate the pre- and post-impact Phobos moment of inertia that further contributes to the desynchronizing effect. The majority of the Stickney ejecta that exited from Phobos was trapped in orbits around Mars until it later accumulated back onto Phobos over a period of craters observed inside Stickney Crater approximate the size/frequency distribution (SFD) of Stickney secondary impacts, it is infeasible to derive an age for Stickney Crater based on an assumption of background impacts ( 2.8-4.2 Ga according to Schmedemann et al. (2014)). In view of how crater-counting is unworkable for age-dating Stickney Crater we conclude an alternate age for Stickney Crater of 0.1-0.5 Ga that is constrained instead by the boulder evidence of Thomas et al. (2000), the boulder destruction rate analysis of Basilevsky et al. (2013, 2015), and the observed space weathering of Phobos regolith (Cipriani et al., 2011; Pieters et al., 2014). Assessing several implications of our model we 1) summarize the crater SFD and temporal nature of the Stickney secondary impact spike on Phobos, 2) predict the global equivalent thickness of deposits on Phobos from Stickney ejecta and subsequent secondary impact gardening, 3) examine the hypothesis that the Stickney impact was a trailing hemisphere event on

  1. A Tale of 3 Craters

    Science.gov (United States)

    2004-01-01

    11 November 2004 This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image captures some of the complexity of the martian upper crust. Mars does not simply have an impact-cratered surface, it's upper crust is a cratered volume. Over time, older craters on Mars have been eroded, filled, buried, and in some cases exhumed and re-exposed at the martian surface. The crust of Mars is layered to depths of 10 or more kilometers, and mixed in with the layered bedrock are a variety of ancient craters with diameters ranging from a few tens of meters (a few tens of yards) to several hundred kilometers (more than one or two hundred miles). The picture shown here captures some of the essence of the layered, cratered volume of the upper crust of Mars in a very simple form. The image shows three distinct circular features. The smallest, in the lower right quarter of the image, is a meteor crater surrounded by a mound of material. This small crater formed within a layer of bedrock that once covered the entire scene, but today is found only in this small remnant adjacent to the crater. The intermediate-sized crater, west (left) of the small one, formed either in the next layer down--that is, below the layer in which the small crater formed--or it formed in some layers that are now removed, but was big enough to penetrate deeply into the rock that is near the surface today. The largest circular feature in the image, in the upper right quarter of the image, is still largely buried. It formed in layers of rock that are below the present surface. Erosion has brought traces of its rim back to the surface of Mars. This picture is located near 50.0oS, 77.8oW, and covers an area approximately 3 km (1.9 mi) across. Sunlight illuminates this October 2004 image from the upper left.

  2. The Topography of Mars: Understanding the Surface of Mars Through the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter

    Science.gov (United States)

    Derby, C. A.; Neumann, G. A.; Sakimoto, S. E.

    2001-12-01

    The Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter has been orbiting Mars since 1997 and has measured the topography of Mars with a meter of vertical accuracy. This new information has improved our understanding of both the surface and the interior of Mars. The topographic globe and the labeled topographic map of Mars illustrate these new data in a format that can be used in a classroom setting. The map is color shaded to show differences in elevation on Mars, presenting Mars with a different perspective than traditional geological and geographic maps. Through the differences in color, students can see Mars as a three-dimensional surface and will be able to recognize features that are invisible in imagery. The accompanying lesson plans are designed for middle school science students and can be used both to teach information about Mars as a planet and Mars in comparison to Earth, fitting both the solar system unit and the Earth science unit in a middle school curriculum. The lessons are referenced to the National Benchmark standards for students in grades 6-8 and cover topics such as Mars exploration, the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter, resolution and powers of 10, gravity, craters, seismic waves and the interior structure of a planet, isostasy, and volcanoes. Each lesson is written in the 5 E format and includes a student content activity and an extension showing current applications of Mars and MOLA data. These activities can be found at http://ltpwww.gsfc.nasa.gov/education/resources.html. Funding for this project was provided by the Maryland Space Grant Consortium and the MOLA Science Team, Goddard Space Flight Center.

  3. Constraints on the Martian cratering rate imposed by the SNC meteorites and Vallis Marineris layered deposits

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brandenburg, J. E.

    1993-01-01

    Following two independent lines of evidence -- estimates of the age and formation time of a portion of the Martian geologic column exposed in the layered deposits and the crystallization and ejection ages of the SNC meteorites -- it appears that the Martian cratering rate must be double the lunar rate or even higher. This means models such as NHII or NHIII (Neukum and Hiller models II and III), which estimate the Martian cratering rate as being several times lunar are probably far closer to reality on Mars than lunar rates. The effect of such a shift is profound: Mars is transformed from a rather Moon-like place into a planet with vigorous dynamics, multiple large impacts, erosion, floods, and volcanism throughout its history. A strong shift upward in cratering rates on Mars apparently solves some glaring problems; however, it creates others. The period of time during which Earth-like atmospheric conditions existed, the liquid water era on Mars, persists in NHIII up to only 0.5 b.y. ago. Scenarios of extended Earth-like conditions on Mars have been discounted in the past because they would have removed many of the craters from the early bombardment era found in the south. It does appear that some process of crater removal was quite vigorous in the north during Mars' past. Evidence exists that the northern plains may have been the home of long-lived seas or perhaps even a paleo-ocean, so models exist for highly localized destruction of craters in the north. However, the question of how the ancient crater population could be preserved in the south under a long liquid-water era found in any high-cratering-rate models is a serious question that must be addressed. It does appear to be a higher-order problem because it involves low-energy dynamics acting in localized areas, i.e., erosion of craters in the south of Mars, whereas the two problems with the low-cratering-rate models involve high-energy events acting over large areas: the formation of the Vallis Marineris

  4. Marte Valles Crater 'Island'

    Science.gov (United States)

    2004-01-01

    10 April 2004 Marte Valles is an outflow channel system that straddles 180oW longitude between the region south of Cerberus and far northwestern Amazonis. The floor of the Marte valleys have enigmatic platy flow features that some argue are formed by lava, others suggest they are remnants of mud flows. This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image shows an island created in the middle of the main Marte Valles channel as fluid---whether lava or mud---flowed past two older meteor impact craters. The craters are located near 21.5oN, 175.3oW. The image covers an area about 3 km (1.9 mi) across. Sunlight illuminates the scene from the lower left.

  5. Crater in Marte Vallis

    Science.gov (United States)

    2003-01-01

    MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-566, 6 December 2003This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image shows a streamlined tail-pointing toward the upper right (northeast)--in the lee of a meteor impact crater in Marte Vallis, a large valley and channel complex southeast and east of the Elysium volcanic region. The fluid that went through Marte Vallis, whether water, mud, lava, or otherwise, created this form as it moved from the lower left (southwest) toward the upper right. The crater is located near 19.0oN, 174.9oW. The image covers an area 3 km (1.9 mi) wide and is illuminated from the left.

  6. Layers in Crater Wall

    Science.gov (United States)

    2004-01-01

    22 January 2004 This January 2004 Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image shows three distinct bands of layered material exposed in the wall of a south, middle-latitude meteor impact crater wall. Talus--debris shed from erosion of the wall--has piled up on the slopes below the layered outcrop. This picture is located near 45.5oS, 85.9oW, and covers an area 3 km (1.9 mi) wide. Sunlight illuminates the scene from the right/lower right.

  7. An experimental flow-through assessment of acidic Fe/Mg smectite formation on early Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sutter, B.; Peretyazhko, T.; Garcia, A. H.; Ming, D. W.

    2017-12-01

    Orbital observations have detected the phyllosilicate smectite in layered material hundreds of meters thick, intracrater depositional fans, and plains sediments on Mars; however, the detection of carbonate deposits is limited. Instead of neutral/alkaline conditions during the Noachian, early Mars may have experienced mildly acidic conditions derived from volcanic acid-sulfate solutions that allowed Fe/Mg smectite formation but prevented widespread carbonate formation. The detection of acid sulfates (e.g., jarosite) associated with smectite in Mawrth Vallis supports this hypothesis. Previous work demonstrated smectite (saponite) formation in closed hydrologic systems (batch reactor) from basaltic glass at pH 4 and 200°C (Peretyazhko et al., 2016 GCA). This work presents results from alteration of basaltic glass from alkaline to acidic conditions in open hydrologic systems (flow-through reactor). Preliminary experiments exposed basaltic glass to deionized water at 190°C at 0.25 ml/min where solution pH equilibrated to 9.5. These initial high pH experiments were conducted to evaluate the flow-through reactor system before working with lower pHs. Smectite at this pH was not produced and instead X-ray diffraction results consistent with serpentine was detected. Experiments are in progress exposing basaltic glass from pH 8 down to pH 3 to determine what range of pHs could allow for smectite formation in this experimental open-system. The production of smectite under an experimental open-system at low pHs if successful, would support a significant paradigm shift regarding the geochemical evolution of early Mars: Early Mars geochemical solutions were mildly acidic, not neutral/alkaline. This could have profound implications regarding early martain microbiology where acid conditions instead of neutral/alkaline conditions will require further research in terrestrial analogs to address the potential for biosignature preservation on Mars (Johnson et al., 2016, LPSC).

  8. Subsurface water and clay mineral formation during the early history of Mars.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ehlmann, Bethany L; Mustard, John F; Murchie, Scott L; Bibring, Jean-Pierre; Meunier, Alain; Fraeman, Abigail A; Langevin, Yves

    2011-11-02

    Clay minerals, recently discovered to be widespread in Mars's Noachian terrains, indicate long-duration interaction between water and rock over 3.7 billion years ago. Analysis of how they formed should indicate what environmental conditions prevailed on early Mars. If clays formed near the surface by weathering, as is common on Earth, their presence would indicate past surface conditions warmer and wetter than at present. However, available data instead indicate substantial Martian clay formation by hydrothermal groundwater circulation and a Noachian rock record dominated by evidence of subsurface waters. Cold, arid conditions with only transient surface water may have characterized Mars's surface for over 4 billion years, since the early-Noachian period, and the longest-duration aqueous, potentially habitable environments may have been in the subsurface.

  9. Geomorphology and Geology of the Southwestern Margaritifer Sinus and Argyre Regions of Mars. Part 2: Crater Size-frequency Distribution Curves and Geomorphic Unit Ages

    Science.gov (United States)

    Parker, T. J.; Pieri, D. C.

    1985-01-01

    In assessing the relative ages of the geomorphic/geologic units, crater counts of the entire unit or nearly the entire unit were made and summed in order to get a more accurate value than obtainable by counts of isolated sections of each unit. Cumulative size-frequency counts show some interesting relationships. Most of the units show two distinct crater populations with a flattening out of the distribution curve at and below 10 km diameter craters. Above this crater size the curves for the different units diverge most notably. In general, the variance may reflect the relative ages of these units. At times, however, in the larger crater size range, these curves can overlap and cross on another. Also the error bars at these larger sizes are broader (and thus more suspect), since counts of larger craters show more scatter, whereas the unit areas remain constant. Occasional clusters of relatively large craters within a given unit, particularly one of limited areal extent, can affect the curve so that the unit might seem to be older than units which it overlies or cuts.

  10. High mobility of landslides on the lunar crater rims

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fukuoka, H.; Akao, H.; Miyauchi, D.; Okamoto, A.; Kawase, T.; Ichimura, M.; Chifu, D.; Inui, K.

    2011-12-01

    The Kaguya (Selene) lunar orbiter which was launched by JAXA in 2007 brought about a lot of topographical data using laser altimeter (LALT), terrain (wide-view) camera, and HD TV camera. This mission revised the lunar atlas with highest resolution of 10 m. The number of LALT surveyed points is about 6.7 million. Their evaluated precision is about 4 m, and the positioning precision is about 80 m (1 STD, respectively). Most of the obtained topographic data are implemented in Google Moon, which are available in the public for free of charge. JAXA revealed that there are numerous landslide topography especially along the lunar crater rims. In order to compare the mobility of those in Mars, we have examined the apparent friction (H/T) in major craters. Apparently, those landslides are distributed on rather older and dissected crater rims. It means their occurrence must be much later than the crater formation. In most cases, the H/T values of those landslides are around 0.1, like long-runout landslides on the Mars and Earth. Past studies proved that ground water might have taken most important role in the presence of such low H/L landslide events on the earth and Mars. However, there have been no evidence nor implication reported, of past water existence on the moon. Possible mechanisms of these low H/T on the crater are (1) moon quake due to nearby meteor impact; (2) shear resistance reduction due to long-term physical/chemical weathering and existence of little ground water; (3) exotic mechanism including tectonic function.

  11. Terrestrial Planet Formation: Dynamical Shake-up and the Low Mass of Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bromley, Benjamin C.; Kenyon, Scott J.

    2017-05-01

    We consider a dynamical shake-up model to explain the low mass of Mars and the lack of planets in the asteroid belt. In our scenario, a secular resonance with Jupiter sweeps through the inner solar system as the solar nebula depletes, pitting resonant excitation against collisional damping in the Sun’s protoplanetary disk. We report the outcome of extensive numerical calculations of planet formation from planetesimals in the terrestrial zone, with and without dynamical shake-up. If the Sun’s gas disk within the terrestrial zone depletes in roughly a million years, then the sweeping resonance inhibits planet formation in the asteroid belt and substantially limits the size of Mars. This phenomenon likely occurs around other stars with long-period massive planets, suggesting that asteroid belt analogs are common.

  12. Evidence for Hesperian Impact-Induced Hydrothermalism on Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Marzo, Giuseppe A.; Davila, Alfonso F.; Tornabene, Livio L.; Dohm, James M.; Fairen, Alberto G.; Gross, Christoph; Kneissl, Thomas; Bishop, Janice L.; Roush, Ted L.; McKay, Chris P.

    2010-01-01

    Several hydrated silicate deposits on Mars are observed within craters and are interpreted as excavated Noachian material. Toro crater (71.8 deg E, 17.0 deg N), located on the northern edge of the Syrtis Major Volcanic Plains, shows spectral and morphologic evidence of impact-induced hydrothermal activity. Spectroscopic observations were used to identify extensive hydrated silicate deposits, including prehnite, chlorites, smectites, and opaline material, a suite of phases that frequently results from hydrothermal alteration in terrestrial craters and also expected on Mars from geochemical modeling of hydrothermal environments. When combined with altimetry and high-resolution imaging data, these deposits appear associated predominantly with the central uplift and with portions of the northern part of the crater floor. Detailed geologic mapping of these deposits reveals geomorphic features that are consistent with hydrothermal activity that followed the impact event, including vent-like and conical mound structures, and a complex network of tectonic structures caused by fluid interactions such as fractures and joints. The crater age has been calculated from the cumulative crater size-frequency distributions and is found to be Early Hesperian. The evidence presented here provides support for impact-induced hydrothermal activity in Toro crater, that extends phyllosilicate formation processes beyond the Noachian era.

  13. Application of high explosion cratering data to planetary problems

    Science.gov (United States)

    Oberbeck, V. R.

    1977-01-01

    The present paper deals with the conditions of explosion or nuclear cratering required to simulate impact crater formation. Some planetary problems associated with three different aspects of crater formation are discussed, and solutions based on high-explosion data are proposed. Structures of impact craters and some selected explosion craters formed in layered media are examined and are related to the structure of lunar basins. The mode of ejection of material from impact craters is identified using explosion analogs. The ejection mode is shown to have important implications for the origin of material in crater and basin deposits. Equally important are the populations of secondary craters on lunar and planetary surfaces.

  14. Gullies in Crater in Hellas

    Science.gov (United States)

    2003-01-01

    MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-571, 11 December 2003This October 2003 Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image shows gullies cut into debris on the southeast-facing wall of an old meteor impact crater in southeastern Hellas Planitia. This view is located near 44.5oS, 277.0oW. The 200 meter scale bar is approximately 656 feet across; the picture is illuminated from the upper left.

  15. Transport-driven formation of a polar ozone layer on Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Montmessin, Franck; Lefèvre, Franck

    2013-11-01

    Since the seasonal and spatial distribution of ozone on Mars was detected by the ultraviolet spectrometer onboard the spacecraft Mariner 7, our understanding has evolved considerably thanks to parallel efforts in observations and modelling. At low-to-mid latitudes, martian ozone is distributed vertically in two main layers, a near-surface layer and a layer at an altitude between 30 and 60km (ref. ). Here we report evidence from the SPICAM UV spectrometer onboard the Mars Express orbiter for the existence of a previously overlooked ozone layer that emerges in the southern polar night at 40-60km in altitude, with no counterpart observed at the north pole. Comparisons with global climate simulations for Mars indicate that this layer forms as a result of the large-scale transport of oxygen-rich air from sunlit latitudes to the poles, where the oxygen atoms recombine to form ozone during the polar night. However, transport-driven ozone formation is counteracted in our simulations by the destruction of ozone by reactions with hydrogen radicals, whose concentrations vary seasonally on Mars, reflecting seasonal variations of water vapour. We conclude that the observed dichotomy between the ozone layers of the two poles, with a significantly richer layer in the southern hemisphere, can be explained by the interplay of these mechanisms.

  16. The Investigation of Chlorate and Perchlorate/Saponite Mixtures as a Possible Source of Oxygen and Chlorine Detected by the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) Instrument in Gale Crater

    Science.gov (United States)

    Clark, J.; Sutter, B.; Min, D. W.; Mahaffy, P.

    2016-01-01

    The Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument on board the Curiosity Rover has detected O2 and HCl gas releases from all analyzed Gale Crater sediments, which are attributed to the presence of perchlorates and/or chlorates in martian sediment. Previous SAM analog laboratory analyses found that most pure perchlorates and chlorates release O2 and HCl at different temperatures than those observed in the SAM data. Subsequent studies examined the effects of perchlorate and chlorate mixtures with Gale Crater analog iron phases, which are known to catalyze oxychlorine decomposition. Several mixtures produced O2 releases at similar temperatures as Gale Crater materials, but most of these mixtures did not produce significant HCl releases comparable to those detected by the SAM instrument. In order to better explain the Gale Crater HCl releases, perchlorates and chlorates were mixed with Gale Crater analog saponite, which is found at abundances from 8 to 20 wt % in the John Klein and Cumberland drill samples. Mixtures of chlorates or perchlorates with calcium-saponite or ferrian-saponite were heated to 1000 deg C in a Labsys EVO differential scanning calorimeter/mass spectrometer configured to operate similarly to the SAM oven/quadrupole mass spectrometer system. Our results demonstrate that all chlorate and perchlorate mixtures produce significant HCl releases below 1000 deg C as well as depressed oxygen peak release temperatures when mixed with saponite. The type of saponite (calcium or ferrian saponite) did not affect the evolved gas results significantly. Saponite/Mg-perchlorate mixtures produced two HCl releases similar to the Cumberland drilled sample. Mg-chlorate mixed with saponite produced HCl releases similar to the Big Sky drilled sample in an eolian sandstone. A mixture of Ca-perchlorate and saponite produced HCl and oxygen releases similar to the Buckskin mudstone drilled sample and the Gobabeb 2 eolian dune material. Ca-chlorate mixed with saponite produced both

  17. Perchlorate formation on Mars through surface radiolysis-initiated atmospheric chemistry: A potential mechanism

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wilson, Eric H.; Atreya, Sushil K.; Kaiser, Ralf I.; Mahaffy, Paul R.

    2016-08-01

    Recent observations of the Martian surface by the Phoenix lander and the Sample Analysis at Mars indicate the presence of perchlorate (ClO4-). The abundance and isotopic composition of these perchlorates suggest that the mechanisms responsible for their formation in the Martian environment may be unique in our solar system. With this in mind, we propose a potential mechanism for the production of Martian perchlorate: the radiolysis of the Martian surface by galactic cosmic rays, followed by the sublimation of chlorine oxides into the atmosphere and their subsequent synthesis to form perchloric acid (HClO4) in the atmosphere, and the surface deposition and subsequent mineralization of HClO4 in the regolith to form surface perchlorates. To evaluate the viability of this mechanism, we employ a one-dimensional chemical model, examining chlorine chemistry in the context of Martian atmospheric chemistry. Considering the chlorine oxide, OClO, we find that an OClO flux as low as 3.2 × 107 molecules cm-2 s-1 sublimated into the atmosphere from the surface could produce sufficient HClO4 to explain the perchlorate concentration on Mars, assuming an accumulation depth of 30 cm and integrated over the Amazonian period. Radiolysis provides an efficient pathway for the oxidation of chlorine, bypassing the efficient Cl/HCl recycling mechanism that characterizes HClO4 formation mechanisms proposed for the Earth but not Mars.

  18. Sporadic Groundwater Upwelling in Deep Martian Craters: Evidence for Lacustrine Clays and Carbonates

    Science.gov (United States)

    Michalski, J. R.; Rogers, A. D.; Wright, S. P.; Niles, P.; Cuadros, J.

    2012-01-01

    While the surface of Mars may have had an active hydrosphere early in its history [1], it is likely that this water retreated to the subsurface early on due to loss of the magnetic field and early atmosphere [2]. This likely resulted in the formation of two distinct aqueous regimes for Mars from the Late Noachian onward: one dominated by redistribution of surface ice and occasional melting of snow/ice [3], and one dominated by groundwater activity [4]. The excavation of alteration minerals from deep in the crust by impact craters points to an active, ancient, deep hydrothermal system [5]. Putative sapping features [6] may occur where the groundwater breached the surface. Upwelling groundwater may also have played a critical role in the formation of massive, layered, cemented sediments in Sinus Meridiani [7,8], in the Valles Marineris [9], and possibly in Gale Crater [10], where the Curiosity Rover will land later this year. Understanding the past distribution, geochemistry, and significance of groundwater on Mars is critical to untangling the origins of deep alteration minerals, Hesperian sulfate deposits, and crater fill deposits at Gale Crater or in other locations.

  19. Volcanic geology of Tyrrhena Patera, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Greeley, Ronald; Crown, David, A.

    1990-01-01

    Consideration is given to the geology of Tyrrhena Patera, a large low-relief volcano in the southern cratered highlands of Mars. The general geology of Tyrrhena Patera is outlined and models for the formation of the volcano are described. Models derived from studies of terrestrial pyroclastic flows are applied to deposits at Tyrrhena Patera, showing that the characteristics of the deposits are consistent with an origin by the emplacement of gravity-driven ash flows generated by hydromagmatic or magmatic explosive eruptions.

  20. Supervolcanoes Within an Ancient Volcanic Province in Arabia Terra, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Michalski, Joseph. R.; Bleacher, Jacob E.

    2014-01-01

    Several irregularly shaped craters located within Arabia Terra, Mars represent a new type of highland volcanic construct and together constitute a previously unrecognized martian igneous province. Similar to terrestrial supervolcanoes, these low-relief paterae display a range of geomorphic features related to structural collapse, effusive volcanism, and explosive eruptions. Extruded lavas contributed to the formation of enigmatic highland ridged plains in Arabia Terra. Outgassed sulfur and erupted fine-grained pyroclastics from these calderas likely fed the formation of altered, layered sedimentary rocks and fretted terrain found throughout the equatorial region. Discovery of a new type of volcanic construct in the Arabia volcanic province fundamentally changes the picture of ancient volcanism and climate evolution on Mars. Other eroded topographic basins in the ancient Martian highlands that have been dismissed as degraded impact craters should be reconsidered as possible volcanic constructs formed in an early phase of widespread, disseminated magmatism on Mars.

  1. Mars Global Surveyor Images

    Science.gov (United States)

    1999-06-01

    High resolution images that help scientists fine tune the landing site for NASA's Mars Surveyor lander mission are shown. These images reveal a smooth surface in the southern cratered highlands near the Nepenthes Mensae.

  2. Formation of Gas Traps in the Martian Soil and Implications for Methane Variability on Mars.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pavlov, A.; Davis, J.; Redwing, E.; Trainer, M. G.; Johnson, C.

    2017-12-01

    Several independent groups have reported on the detection of methane in the Martian atmosphere. Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) methane observations display rapid increase of the atmospheric methane abundance from 1 ppb to 7 ppb levels followed by an abrupt disappearance suggest the possibility of small, local, near-surface sources of methane. Such sources may take the form of shallow subsurface cemented soil caps which can trap gases and are readily activated by either motion of the MSL rover itself, by impacts of small meteorites, or even annual climate oscillations. We have simulated the formation of such soil caps in the shallow subsurface Martian-like condition. We show that the initially uniform sample of icy soil (JSC-Mars-1A) with Mg perchlorate exhibit quick stratification on the scale of several cm under Martian pressures over the period of several days. Briny water migrates towards the top of the sample resulting in the enhanced abundance of perchlorates in the top few cm. As water evaporates and ice sublimates from the top of the sample, perchlorate remains in the top layer of soil causing soil cementation and formation of the cap. The observed caps were solid, ice-free and effectively shut off sublimation of ice from underneath the cap. We tested whether similar soil caps can trap various gases (including methane) in the shallow subsurface of Mars. We injected neon gas at the bottom of the soil sample and monitored neon gas permeability through the soil sample by measuring gas pressure differential above and below the soil sample. We found that a mixture of JSC-Mars-1A and 5% of Mg perchlorate produce gas impermeable soil cap capable of withstanding an excess of 5 mbars of neon under the cap at the soil temperatures +0.5 C - +9 C. The cap remained gas impermeable after subsequent cooling of the sample soil sample to the subzero temperatures. Gas permeability of the soil caps under various temperatures and atmospheric pressures will be reported. Our

  3. A paleomagnetic and rock magnetic study of the Manicouagan impact structure: Implications for crater formation and geodynamo effects

    Science.gov (United States)

    Eitel, Michael; Gilder, Stuart A.; Spray, John; Thompson, Lucy; Pohl, Jean

    2016-02-01

    We report rock magnetic and paleomagnetic data from the ~214 Ma Manicouagan (Canada) impact crater based on 25 widely distributed sites of impact melt and basement rocks collected at the surface as well as from boreholes drilled to depths ≤1.5 km. Titanomagnetite and titanohematite carry the magnetic remanence in impact melts above 320 m elevation and in most basement rocks. Impact melts below 320 m contain solely titanomagnetite. Magnetic susceptibility and saturation magnetization, proxies for titanomagnetite concentration, increase more than tenfold toward the base of the thickest impact melt that underwent fractional crystallization. The titanomagnetite-enriched zone partially contributes to a 2000 nT magnetic anomaly in the crater's center. Stepwise demagnetization reveals a single, normal polarity magnetization component in all samples regardless of the magnetic phases present. Coeval lock-in remanence times for titanomagnetite and titanohematite indicate that the titanohematite formed >570°C during oxi-exsolution. The average paleomagnetic direction and intensity coincide well with 214 Ma reference values. We find no evidence for an aberration of the geomagnetic field over the several thousands of years it took to cool a 481 m thick portion of the impact melt body. Hence, the energy released by the Manicouagan impact that created one of the 10 largest known craters on Earth provoked no measurable disturbance of the geodynamo. Magnetic anisotropy of clast-free impact melts define magnetic lineation directions that are, in places, radially oriented with respect to the crater's center. Centrifugal flow of the melt within the evolving transient crater probably generated the fabric.

  4. Numerical simulation of turbulent flows over crater-like obstacles: application to Gale crater, landing site of the Curiosity rover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Anderson, W.; Day, M. D.

    2017-12-01

    Mars is a dry planet with a thin atmosphere. Aeolian processes - wind-driven mobilization of sediment and dust - are the dominant mode of landscape variability on the dessicated landscapes of Mars. Craters are common topographic features on the surface of Mars, and many craters on Mars contain a prominent central mound (NASA's Curiosity rover was landed in Gale crater, with the rover journeying across an inner plan and towards Gale's central mound, Aeolus Mons). These mounds are composed of sedimentary fill, and, therefore, they contain rich information on the evolution of climatic conditions on Mars embodied in the stratigraphic "layering" of sediments. Many other craters no longer house a mound, but contain sediment and dust from which dune fields and other features form. Using density-normalized large-eddy simulations, we have modeled turbulent flows over crater-like topographies that feature a central mound. Resultant datasets suggest a deflationary mechanism wherein vortices shed from the upwind crater rim are realigned to conform to the crater profile via stretching and tilting. This insight was gained using three-dimensional datasets (momentum, vorticity, and turbulent stresses) retrieved from LES, and assessment of the relative influence of constituent terms responsible for the sustenance of mean vorticity. The helical, counter-rotating vortices occupy the inner region of the crater, and, therefore, are argued to be of great importance for aeolian morphodynamics in the crater (radial katabatic flows are also important to aeolian processes within the crater).

  5. Orson Welles Crater Dunes

    Science.gov (United States)

    2004-01-01

    [figure removed for brevity, see original site] Released 14 April 2004 The Odyssey spacecraft has completed a full Mars year of observations of the red planet. For the next several weeks the Image of the Day will look back over this first mars year. It will focus on four themes: 1) the poles - with the seasonal changes seen in the retreat and expansion of the caps; 2) craters - with a variety of morphologies relating to impact materials and later alteration, both infilling and exhumation; 3) channels - the clues to liquid surface flow; and 4) volcanic flow features. While some images have helped answer questions about the history of Mars, many have raised new questions that are still being investigated as Odyssey continues collecting data as it orbits Mars. This daytime VIS image was collected on November 13, 2003 during the southern summer season in Orson Welles Crater. Image information: VIS instrument. Latitude -0, Longitude 313.4 East (46.6 West). 19 meter/pixel resolution. Note: this THEMIS visual image has not been radiometrically nor geometrically calibrated for this preliminary release. An empirical correction has been performed to remove instrumental effects. A linear shift has been applied in the cross-track and down-track direction to approximate spacecraft and planetary motion. Fully calibrated and geometrically projected images will be released through the Planetary Data System in accordance with Project policies at a later time. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory manages the 2001 Mars Odyssey mission for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C. The Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) was developed by Arizona State University, Tempe, in collaboration with Raytheon Santa Barbara Remote Sensing. The THEMIS investigation is led by Dr. Philip Christensen at Arizona State University. Lockheed Martin Astronautics, Denver, is the prime contractor for the Odyssey project, and developed and built the orbiter. Mission operations are conducted jointly

  6. Acid Sulfate Alteration on Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ming, D. W.; Morris, R. V.

    2016-01-01

    A variety of mineralogical and geochemical indicators for aqueous alteration on Mars have been identified by a combination of surface and orbital robotic missions, telescopic observations, characterization of Martian meteorites, and laboratory and terrestrial analog studies. Acid sulfate alteration has been identified at all three landing sites visited by NASA rover missions (Spirit, Opportunity, and Curiosity). Spirit landed in Gusev crater in 2004 and discovered Fe-sulfates and materials that have been extensively leached by acid sulfate solutions. Opportunity landing on the plains of Meridiani Planum also in 2004 where the rover encountered large abundances of jarosite and hematite in sedimentary rocks. Curiosity landed in Gale crater in 2012 and has characterized fluvial, deltaic, and lacustrine sediments. Jarosite and hematite were discovered in some of the lacustrine sediments. The high elemental abundance of sulfur in surface materials is obvious evidence that sulfate has played a major role in aqueous processes at all landing sites on Mars. The sulfate-rich outcrop at Meridiani Planum has an SO3 content of up to 25 wt.%. The interiors of rocks and outcrops on the Columbia Hills within Gusev crater have up to 8 wt.% SO3. Soils at both sites generally have between 5 to 14 wt.% SO3, and several soils in Gusev crater contain around 30 wt.% SO3. After normalization of major element compositions to a SO3-free basis, the bulk compositions of these materials are basaltic, with a few exceptions in Gusev crater and in lacustrine mudstones in Gale crater. These observations suggest that materials encountered by the rovers were derived from basaltic precursors by acid sulfate alteration under nearly isochemical conditions (i.e., minimal leaching). There are several cases, however, where acid sulfate alteration minerals (jarosite and hematite) formed in open hydrologic systems, e.g., in Gale crater lacustrine mudstones. Several hypotheses have been suggested for the

  7. Geology of Mars

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Soderblom, L.A.

    1988-01-01

    The geology of Mars and the results of the Mariner 4, 6/7, and 9 missions and the Viking mission are reviewed. The Mars chronology and geologic modification are examined, including chronological models for the inactive planet, the active planet, and crater flux. The importance of surface materials is discussed and a multispectral map of Mars is presented. Suggestions are given for further studies of the geology of Mars using the Viking data. 5 references

  8. Radar sounding of the Medusae Fossae Formation Mars: equatorial ice or dry, low-density deposits?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Watters, Thomas R; Campbell, Bruce; Carter, Lynn; Leuschen, Carl J; Plaut, Jeffrey J; Picardi, Giovanni; Orosei, Roberto; Safaeinili, Ali; Clifford, Stephen M; Farrell, William M; Ivanov, Anton B; Phillips, Roger J; Stofan, Ellen R

    2007-11-16

    The equatorial Medusae Fossae Formation (MFF) is enigmatic and perhaps among the youngest geologic deposits on Mars. They are thought to be composed of volcanic ash, eolian sediments, or an ice-rich material analogous to polar layered deposits. The Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface and Ionospheric Sounding (MARSIS) instrument aboard the Mars Express Spacecraft has detected nadir echoes offset in time-delay from the surface return in orbits over MFF material. These echoes are interpreted to be from the subsurface interface between the MFF material and the underlying terrain. The delay time between the MFF surface and subsurface echoes is consistent with massive deposits emplaced on generally planar lowlands materials with a real dielectric constant of approximately 2.9 +/- 0.4. The real dielectric constant and the estimated dielectric losses are consistent with a substantial component of water ice. However, an anomalously low-density, ice-poor material cannot be ruled out. If ice-rich, the MFF must have a higher percentage of dust and sand than polar layered deposits. The volume of water in an ice-rich MFF deposit would be comparable to that of the south polar layered deposits.

  9. Hydrothermal Alteration at Lonar Crater, India and Elemental Variations in Impact Crater Clays

    Science.gov (United States)

    Newsom, H. E.; Nelson, M. J.; Shearer, C. K.; Misra, S.; Narasimham, V.

    2005-01-01

    The role of hydrothermal alteration and chemical transport involving impact craters could have occurred on Mars, the poles of Mercury and the Moon, and other small bodies. We are studying terrestrial craters of various sizes in different environments to better understand aqueous alteration and chemical transport processes. The Lonar crater in India (1.8 km diameter) is particularly interesting being the only impact crater in basalt. In January of 2004, during fieldwork in the ejecta blanket around the rim of the Lonar crater we discovered alteration zones not previously described at this crater. The alteration of the ejecta blanket could represent evidence of localized hydrothermal activity. Such activity is consistent with the presence of large amounts of impact melt in the ejecta blanket. Map of one area on the north rim of the crater containing highly altered zones at least 3 m deep is shown.

  10. Time of Formation of Earth and Mars Constrained by Siderophile Element Geochemistry and the 182Hf-182W Isotope System

    OpenAIRE

    Yu, Gang

    2012-01-01

    \\(^{182}Hf-^{182}W\\) chronometry is considered the most powerful tool to determine the formation timescale of the terrestrial planets. However, previous work employed oversimplified accretion and core formation models. The accretion and core formation models presented here for the \\(^{182}W \\) isotopic evolution in the mantles of the accreting Earth and Mars, can incorporate the core formation conditions constrained by siderophile element geochemistry and can be succes...

  11. The geologic development of Mars - A review

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mutch, T. A.; Saunders, R. S.

    1976-01-01

    The overall view of Mars has changed from earthlike in the prespacecraft era to moonlike following the flyby missions and finally to a planet with intermediate characteristics. There are many impact craters as on the moon, but tectonic and volcanic features resembling structures on earth are also present. However, there is a lack of evidence for the compressional deformation associated with terrestrial plate tectonics and continental drift. Current analyses indicate that Mars has a differentiated interior with a crust and mantle and perhaps a core. Whenever the nature of interior processes, whether overall mantle expansion, plumes, or full-scale convection, the effects at the surface have been predominantly vertical with formation of broad regions of uplift and depression. One of the results is hemispheric asymmetry with cratered terrain in the south and younger uncratered plains in the north.

  12. Experimental evidence for the formation of liquid saline water on Mars.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fischer, Erik; Martínez, Germán M; Elliott, Harvey M; Rennó, Nilton O

    2014-07-16

    Evidence for deliquescence of perchlorate salts has been discovered in the Martian polar region while possible brine flows have been observed in the equatorial region. This appears to contradict the idea that bulk deliquescence is too slow to occur during the short periods of the Martian diurnal cycle during which conditions are favorable for it. We conduct laboratory experiments to study the formation of liquid brines at Mars environmental conditions. We find that when water vapor is the only source of water, bulk deliquescence of perchlorates is not rapid enough to occur during the short periods of the day during which the temperature is above the salts' eutectic value, and the humidity is above the salts' deliquescence value. However, when the salts are in contact with water ice, liquid brine forms in minutes, indicating that aqueous solutions could form temporarily where salts and ice coexist on the Martian surface and in the shallow subsurface. The formation of brines at Martian conditions was studied experimentallyBulk deliquescence from water vapor is too slow to occur diurnally on MarsBrines form in minutes when salts are placed in direct contact with ice.

  13. On shaping of craters at ion bombardment

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Kalinichenko, A.I.; Perepelkin, S.S.; Strel'nitskij, V.E.

    2013-01-01

    Effect of plasticity and surface tension of metal on form and size of crater produced by heavy low-energy ion is theoretically investigated. Crater is approximated by an axially-symmetrical hollow. The hollow is characterized by known volume and two radii which specify curvatures of both bottom and peripheral parts of crater. Radii of curvature are determined by equality of surface tension forces and elastic reaction of metal. Equations for crater depth and diameter as well as for coefficient of increase of free surface ? due to crater and droplet formation are derived. Dependences of crater form and size on yield strength and surface tension coefficient of metal are analyzed. Influence of specified characteristics on possibility of droplet sputtering and nanometer-sized craters formation at ion bombardment of metals is shown.

  14. Tectonic evolution of Mars

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Wise, D.U.; Golombek, M.P.; McGill, G.E.

    1979-01-01

    Any model for the tectonic evolution of Mars must account for two major crustal elements: the Tharsis bulge and the topographically low and lightly crated northern third of the planet. Ages determined by crater density indicate that both of these elements came into existence very early in Martian history, a conclusion that holds no matter which of the current crater density versus age curves is used. The size of these two major crustal elements and their sequential development suggest that both may be related to a global-scale internal process. It is proposed that the resurfacing of the northern third of Mars is related to subcrustal erosion and isostatic foundering during the life of a first-order convection cell. With the demise of the cell, denser segregations of metallic materials began to coalesce as a gravitatively unstable layer which finally overturned to form the core. In the overturn, lighter crustal materials was shifted laterally and underplated beneath Tharsis to cause rapid and permanent isostatic rise. This was followed by a long-lived thermal phase produced by the hot underplate and by the gravitative energy of core formation slowly making its way to the surface to produce the Tharsis volcanics

  15. Radiation-Driven Formation of Reactive Oxygen Species in Oxychlorine-Containing Mars Surface Analogues.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Georgiou, Christos D; Zisimopoulos, Dimitrios; Kalaitzopoulou, Electra; Quinn, Richard C

    2017-04-01

    The present study demonstrates that γ-radiolyzed perchlorate-containing Mars soil salt analogues (in a CO 2 atmosphere) generate upon H 2 O wetting the reactive oxygen species (ROS) superoxide radical (O 2 •- ), hydrogen peroxide (H 2 O 2 ), and hydroxyl radicals ( • OH). This study also validates that analogue radiolysis forms oxychlorine species that, in turn, can UV-photolyze to • OH upon UV photolysis. This investigation was made possible by the development of a new assay for inorganic-origin O 2 •- and H 2 O 2 determination and by the modification of a previous assay for soil • OH. Results show that radiolyzed Mg(ClO 4 ) 2 generates H 2 O 2 and • OH; and when included as part of a mixture analogous to the salt composition of samples analyzed at the Mars Phoenix site, the analogue generated O 2 •- , H 2 O 2 , and • OH, with • OH levels 150-fold higher than in the radiolyzed Mg(ClO 4 ) 2 samples. Radiolyzed Mars Phoenix site salt analogue that did not contain Mg(ClO 4 ) 2 generated only • OH also at 150-fold higher concentration than Mg(ClO 4 ) 2 alone. Additionally, UV photolysis of the perchlorate γ radiolysis product chlorite (ClO 2 - ) generated the oxychlorine products trihalide (Cl 3 - ), chlorine dioxide (ClO 2 • ), and hypochlorite (ClO - ), with the formation of • OH by UV photolysis of ClO - . While the generation of ROS may have contributed in part to 14 CO 2 production in the Viking Labeled Release (LR) experiment and O 2 (g) release in the Viking Gas Exchange (GEx) experiment, our results indicate that they are not likely to be the major contributor to the LR and GEx results. However, due to their highly reactive nature, they are expected to play a significant role in the alteration of organics on Mars. Additionally, experiments with hypochlorite show that the thermal stability of NaClO is in the range of the thermal stability observed for thermally liable oxidant responsible for the Viking LR results. Key Words: Mars

  16. Oxygen in the Martian atmosphere: Regulation of PO2 by the deposition of iron formations on Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Burns, Roger G.

    1992-01-01

    During Earth's early history, and prior to the evolution of its present day oxygenated atmosphere, extensive iron rich siliceous sedimentary rocks were deposited, consisting of alternating layers of silica (chert) and iron oxide minerals (hematite and magnetite). The banding in iron formations recorded changes of atmosphere-hydrosphere interactions near sea level in the ancient ocean, which induced the oxidation of dissolved ferrous iron, precipitation of insoluble ferric oxides and silica, and regulation of oxygen in Earth's early atmosphere. Similarities between the Archean Earth and the composition of the present day atmosphere on Mars, together with the pervasive presence of ferric oxides in the Martian regolith suggest that iron formation might also have been deposited on Mars and influenced the oxygen content of the Martian atmosphere. Such a possibility is discussed here with a view to assessing whether the oxygen content of the Martian atmosphere has been regulated by the chemical precipitation of iron formations on Mars.

  17. Crater Degradation on Mercury: A Global Perspective

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kinczyk, M. J.; Byrne, P. K.; Prockter, L. M.; Susorney, H. C. M.; Chapman, C. R.; Barnouin, O. S.

    2017-12-01

    On geologic timescales, initially fresh craters are subjected to many weathering mechanisms. Whereas water and wind are, or were, effective erosive mechanisms such as on Earth and Mars, micrometeorite bombardment and modification due to subsequent impacts are the dominant processes that degrade craters and crater rays on airless bodies like the Moon and Mercury. Classifying craters based on their state of degradation can help determine the relative ages of landforms proximal to, and crosscut by, these craters. However, this method is most effective when used together with statistical analysis of crater distributions. Pre-MESSENGER degradation classification schemes lacked sufficient detail to be consistently applied to craters of various sizes and morphological types—despite evidence suggesting that the ejecta deposits of large basins persist much longer than those of smaller craters, for instance—yet broad assumptions have been made regarding the correlation of crater class to the planet's time-stratigraphic sequence. Moreover, previous efforts to categorize craters by degradation state have either been restricted to regional study sites or applied only to a subset of crater age or size. As a result, numerous interpretations of crater degradation state persist for Mercury, challenging a complete understanding of this process on the innermost planet. We report on the first global survey of crater degradation on Mercury. By modifying an established 5-class scheme, we have systematically applied a rigorous set of criteria to all craters ≥40 km in diameter on the planet. These criteria include the state and morphology of crater deposits separately (e.g., rim, floor, wall, ejecta) and degradation classes were assigned as the collection of these individual attributes. This approach yields a consistent classification of craters of different sizes. Our results provide the first comprehensive assessment of how craters of various states of degradation are distributed

  18. Icy Islands reveal similar volatile behavior on Pluto and Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sori, M.; Bapst, J.; Byrne, S.

    2017-12-01

    Ice deposits on planetary surfaces may hold paleoclimate records and elucidate important geologic processes involving volatiles, atmospheres, topography, and climate. Sputnik Planitia on Pluto and the well-studied north and south polar layered deposits (NPLD and SPLD) of Mars are examples. Ice peripheral to these main deposits may be even more sensitive to climatic changes. At northern martian latitudes, 18 outlying H2O ice mounds have previously been mapped within impact craters (Fig. 1a) near the NPLD. Here, we use remote sensing observations from New Horizons and Mars orbital spacecraft to study similar features in craters near Sputnik Planitia and the SPLD. We identify tens of outlying topographic mounds in craters near the SPLD (Fig. 1b) and five bright albedo features in craters near Sputnik Planitia (Fig. 1c). We assess the possibility that these deposits are analogous to the H2O ice mounds at northern martian polar latitudes. The southern martian deposits are physically diverse, but always include convex topography and host craters >15 km in diameter. We interpret at least some of them to be composed of H2O ice like their northern counterparts. The five features on Pluto are located in similarly sized craters and have corresponding spectral detections of N2 ice. One (Fig. 1c) has topography very similar to martian ice mounds, including a convex shape up to 160 m thick. We conclude it is an N2 ice mound, equivalent to Mars' H2O ice mounds in that crater topography provides a favorable microclimate for volatiles. The mound may preserve a paleoclimate record that would be erased in Sputnik Planitia by convection. Using a finite element model, we estimate flow velocities of this N2 ice mound to be 1 cm/yr, implying it may be younger than the other four which could have topography subdued by viscous relaxation. We compare the properties and possible formation mechanisms of these features to test the hypothesis that Pluto's ice cycle is similar to Mars' in

  19. Impact cratering

    Indian Academy of Sciences (India)

    In addition, further improvement of our understanding of the physico–chemical and geological processes fundamental to the impact cratering process is required for reliable numerical modeling of the process, and also for the correlation of impact magnitude and environmental effects. Over the last few decades, impact ...

  20. Clues on Acid-Sulfate Alteration and Hematite Formation on Earth and Mars From Iron Isotopic Analyses of Terrestrial Analogues From Hawaii

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nie, N. X.; Dauphas, N.; Morris, R. V

    2017-01-01

    The Mars Exploration Rover mission revealed the presence of rocks and minerals indicative of water-rock interactions on Mars. A range of mineralogies have been identified, including hematite spherules (i.e., blueberries), jarosite, Mg-, Ca-sulfates, silica-rich materials and silicate relics from basaltic rocks. The mineral assemblages have been interpreted to be derived from acid-sulfate alteration of basaltic materials. Indeed, the chemical compositions of rocks and soils at Home Plate in Gusev Crater follow the trends expected for acid-sulfate alteration.

  1. Terrestrial analogues models based on MOURA magnetometer data. Application to Gusev crater and Apollinaris volcano

    Science.gov (United States)

    Díaz-Michelena, Marina; Cerdán, Miguel Felipe; Ramírez-Nicolás, María; Sánchez-Cano, Beatríz; Sánchez-Bayton, Marina; Kilian, Rolf

    2014-05-01

    Sometimes it is a problem to determine whether a crater was formed by an explosive volcanic event or a meteorite impact. This issue is of interest even on Earth where geological features are often masked by erosion or vegetation and for the interpretation of ancient craters on other planets or moons, where the geological context is not clearly determined. Thus we propose a geophysical modelling approach to study the formation of such craters with potential application to Mars, whose surface is fully covered with craters. The evolution of this study might shed more light over the martian ancient geodynamo. The Earth provides many examples to develop models for the geological features of such craters since it is feasible to perform magnetic and gravity surveys at different altitudes, and therefore to have information on different surface scales. The models developed with real satellite, airborne and on ground data on Earth (Moar, 2004) can be extrapolated to other bodies, like Mars or the Moon, where only satellite and limited ground data are available. In the present study, surveys are mainly based on vector data from surveys with MOURA magnetometer developed by INTA for Mars MetNet mission. Since the ambient conditions of Mars are so extreme, MOURA is capable to withstand the extreme conditions of the terrestrial analogues. The models of craters are based on typical crater structures proposed by Lorenz (2003) and Grieve (2006), where distinct susceptibilities and remanent magnetization have been attributed to different volcanic or impact related rock units (bedded upper diatreme facies and unbedded lower diatreme facies, tephra rims and ejecta blankets, high pressures and temperature volumes, etc) and target rocks. The analysis of the scalar magnetic potential and its harmonics can help in the interpretation of the origin of these craters and their geological context by means of the magnetic signature. In this study, it will be presented the correlation between

  2. The South Circumpolar Dorsa Argentea Formation and the Noachian-Hesperian Climate of Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Head, J. W., III; Scanlon, K. E.; Fastook, J.; Wordsworth, R. D.

    2017-12-01

    The Dorsa Argentea Formation (DAF), a set of geomorphologic units covering 1.5 · 106 km2 in the south circumpolar region of Mars with lobes extending along the 0° and 90°W meridians, has been interpreted as the remnants of a large Noachian-Hesperian ice sheet. Determining the extent and thermal regime of the DAF ice sheet, and the controls on its development, can therefore provide insight into the ancient martian climate. We used the Laboratoire de Météorologie Dynamique early Mars global climate model (GCM) and the University of Maine Ice Sheet Model (UMISM) glacial flow model to constrain climates that would permit both development of a south polar ice sheet of DAF-like size and shape and melting consistent with observed eskers and channels. An asymmetric south polar cold trap is a robust feature of GCM simulations with spin-axis obliquity of 15° or 25° and a 600 - 1000 mb CO2 atmosphere. The shape results from the strong dependence of surface temperature on altitude in a thicker atmosphere. Of the scenarios considered here, the shape and extent of the modeled DAF ice sheet in UMISM simulations most closely match those of the DAF when the surface water ice inventory of Mars is 20 · 106 km3 and obliquity is 15°. In climates warmed only by CO2, basal melting does not occur except when the ice inventory is larger than most estimates for early Mars. In this case, the extent of the ice sheet is also much larger than that of the DAF, and melting is more widespread than observed landforms indicate. When an idealized greenhouse gas warms the surface by at least 20° near the poles relative to CO2 alone, the extent of the ice sheet is less than that of the DAF, but strong basal melting occurs, with maxima in the locations where eskers and channels are observed. We conclude that the glaciofluvial landforms in the DAF implicate warming by a gas other than CO2 alone. Previously published exposure ages of eskers in the DAF indicate that eskers were being exposed as

  3. Galle Crater

    Science.gov (United States)

    2002-01-01

    (Released 19 June 2002) The Science This image is of part of Galle Crater, located at 51.9S, 29.5W. This image was taken far enough south and late enough into the southern hemisphere fall to catch observe water ice clouds partially obscuring the surface. The most striking aspect of the surface is the dissected layered unit to the left in the image. Other areas also appear to have layering, but they are either more obscured by clouds or are less well defined on the surface. The layers appear to be mostly flat lying and layer boundaries appear as topographic lines would on a map, but there are a few areas where it appears that these layers have been deformed to some level. Other areas of the image contain rugged, mountainous terrain as well as a separate pitted terrain where the surface appears to be a separate unit from the mountains and the layered terrain. The Story Galle Crater is officially named after a German astronomer who, in 1846, was the first to observe the planet Neptune. It is better known, however, as the 'Happy Face Crater.' The image above focuses on too small an area of the crater to see its beguiling grin, but you can catch the rocky line of a 'half-smile' in the context image to the right (to the left of the red box). While water ice clouds make some of the surface harder to see, nothing detracts from the fabulous layering at the center left-hand edge of the image. If you click on the above image, the scalloped layers almost look as if a giant knife has swirled through a landscape of cake frosting. These layers, the rugged, mountains near them, and pits on the surface (upper to middle section of the image on the right-hand side) all create varying textures on the crater floor. With such different features in the same place, geologists have a lot to study to figure out what has happened in the crater since it formed.

  4. Centrifuge impact cratering experiment 5

    Science.gov (United States)

    1984-01-01

    Transient crates motions, cratering flow fields, crates dynamics, determining impact conditions from total crater welt, centrifuge quarter-space cratering, and impact cratering mechanics research is documented.

  5. Origin of the Medusae Fossae Formation, Mars: Insights from a synoptic approach

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mandt, Kathleen E.; de Silva, Shanaka L.; Zimbelman, James R.; Crown, David A.

    2008-12-01

    The geologic origin of the Medusae Fossae Formation (MFF) has remained a mystery despite three decades of research. To better constrain its formation, an in-depth analysis of observations made in the literature was combined with a new survey of over 700 Mars Orbiter Camera narrow-angle images of the MFF to identify morphologic characteristics and material properties that define this formation as a whole. While previous work has identified clear agreement on some characteristics, our analysis identifies yardangs, collapse features, and layering as pervasive features of the MFF. Whereas collapse features and layering may implicate several different physical and chemical processes, yardangs provide vital information on material properties that inform about mechanical properties of the MFF lithology. Aspect ratios of megayardangs range from 3:1 to 50:1, and slope analyses reveal heights of up to 200 m with cliffs that are almost vertical. Other yardangs show lower aspect ratios and topographic profiles. These characteristics coupled to the presence of serrated margins, suggest that MFF lithology must be of weakly to heavily indurated material that lends itself to jointing. The characteristics and properties of the MFF are inconsistent with those of terrestrial pyroclastic fall deposits or loess, but are in common with large terrestrial ignimbrites, a hypothesis that explains all key observations with a single mechanism. Yardang fields developed in regionally extensive ignimbrite sheets in the central Andes display morphologic characteristics that correlate with degree of induration of the host lithology and suggest an origin by pyroclastic flow for the MFF.

  6. Dark Valley in Newton Crater

    Science.gov (United States)

    2003-01-01

    MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-418, 11 July 2003This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) high resolution image shows part of a dark-floored valley system in northern Newton Crater. The valley might have been originally formed by liquid water; the dark material is probably sand that has blown into the valley in more recent times. The picture was acquired earlier this week on July 6, 2003, and is located near 39.2oS, 157.9oW. The picture covers an area 2.3 km (1.4 mi) across; sunlight illuminates the scene from the upper left.

  7. Magnetic/isotopic characteristic of the spherule-rich impact ejecta blanket from the Chicxulub crater: analog for robotic exploration of similar deposits on Mars

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Kletetschka, Günther

    2007-01-01

    Roč. 39, č. 5 (2007), s. 12-12 ISSN 0016-7592. [Rocky Mountain Section - Annual Meeting /59./. 07.05.2007-09.05.2007, St. George] Keywords : magnetic * isotopes * spherules * impact * Mars Subject RIV: BN - Astronomy, Celestial Mechanics, Astrophysics http://gsa.confex.com/gsa/2007RM/finalprogram/abstract_121718.htm

  8. Surface clay formation during short-term warmer and wetter conditions on a largely cold ancient Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bishop, Janice L.; Fairén, Alberto G.; Michalski, Joseph R.; Gago-Duport, Luis; Baker, Leslie L.; Velbel, Michael A.; Gross, Christoph; Rampe, Elizabeth B.

    2018-03-01

    The ancient rock record for Mars has long been at odds with climate modelling. The presence of valley networks, dendritic channels and deltas on ancient terrains points towards running water and fluvial erosion on early Mars1, but climate modelling indicates that long-term warm conditions were not sustainable2. Widespread phyllosilicates and other aqueous minerals on the Martian surface3-6 provide additional evidence that an early wet Martian climate resulted in surface weathering. Some of these phyllosilicates formed in subsurface crustal environments5, with no association with the Martian climate, while other phyllosilicate-rich outcrops exhibit layered morphologies and broad stratigraphies7 consistent with surface formation. Here, we develop a new geochemical model for early Mars to explain the formation of these clay-bearing rocks in warm and wet surface locations. We propose that sporadic, short-term warm and wet environments during a generally cold early Mars enabled phyllosilicate formation without requiring long-term warm and wet conditions. We conclude that Mg-rich clay-bearing rocks with lateral variations in mixed Fe/Mg smectite, chlorite, talc, serpentine and zeolite occurrences formed in subsurface hydrothermal environments, whereas dioctahedral (Al/Fe3+-rich) smectite and widespread vertical horizonation of Fe/Mg smectites, clay assemblages and sulphates formed in variable aqueous environments on the surface of Mars. Our model for aluminosilicate formation on Mars is consistent with the observed geological features, diversity of aqueous mineralogies in ancient surface rocks and state-of-the-art palaeoclimate scenarios.

  9. 'Sharks Teeth' -- Sand Dunes in Proctor Crater

    Science.gov (United States)

    2001-01-01

    Sometimes, pictures received from Mars Global Surveyor's Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) are 'just plain pretty.' This image, taken in early September 2000, shows a group of sand dunes at the edge of a much larger field of dark-toned dunes in Proctor Crater. Located at 47.9oS, 330.4oW, in the 170 km (106 mile) diameter crater named for 19th Century British astronomer Richard A. Proctor (1837-1888), the dunes shown here are created by winds blowing largely from the east/northeast. A plethora of smaller, brighter ripples covers the substrate between the dunes. Sunlight illuminates them from the upper left.

  10. North Rim of Endeavour Crater on Horizon

    Science.gov (United States)

    2009-01-01

    [figure removed for brevity, see original site] A northern portion of the rim of Endeavour Crater is visible on the horizon of this image taken by the panoramic camera (Pancam) on NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity on March 7, 2009, during the 1,820st Martian day, or sol, of the rover's mission on Mars. That portion of Endeavour's rim is about 20 kilometers (12 miles) away from Opportunity's position west of the crater when the image was taken. The width of the image covers approximately one degree of the horizon.

  11. East Rim of Endeavour Crater on Horizon

    Science.gov (United States)

    2009-01-01

    [figure removed for brevity, see original site] A high point on the distant eastern rim of Endeavour Crater is visible on the horizon in this image taken by the panoramic camera (Pancam) on NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity on March 8, 2009, during the 1,821st Martian day, or sol, of the rover's mission on Mars. That portion of Endeavour's rim is about 34 kilometers (21 miles) away from Opportunity's position west of the crater when the image was taken. The width of the image covers approximately one degree of the horizon.

  12. Compositional Variations in Sands of the Bagnold Dunes, Gale Crater, Mars, from Visible-Shortwave Infrared Spectroscopy and Comparison to Ground-Truth from the Curiosity Rover

    OpenAIRE

    Lapotre, M. G. A.; Ehlmann, B. L.; Minson, S. E.; Arvidson, R. E.; Ayoub, F.; Fraeman, A. A.; Ewing, R. C.; Bridges, N. T.

    2017-01-01

    During its ascent up Mount Sharp, the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover traversed the Bagnold Dune Field. We model sand modal mineralogy and grain size at four locations near the rover traverse, using orbital shortwave infrared single-scattering albedo spectra and a Markov chain Monte Carlo implementation of Hapke's radiative transfer theory to fully constrain uncertainties and permitted solutions. These predictions, evaluated against in situ measurements at one site from the Curiosity ...

  13. Low H/V and its volume dependency of landslides on the lunar crater rims

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fukuoka, H.; Akao, H.; Miyauchi, D.; Okamoto, A.; Kawase, T.; Ichimura, M.; Chifu, D.; Inui, K.

    2012-04-01

    The Selene lunar orbiter which was launched by JAXA in 2007 brought about a lot of topographical data using laser altimeter (LALT), terrain (wide-view) camera, and HD TV camera. This mission obtained detailed topographic data of lunar terrain with highest spatial resolution of about 10 m. Evaluated precision is about 4 m, and the positioning precision is about 80 m (1 Standar deviation). Most of the obtained topographic data are implemented in Google Moon, which are available in the public for free of charge. JAXA revealed that there are numerous landslide topography especially along the lunar crater rims. In order to compare the mobility of those in Mars, we have examined the apparent friction (H/T) in major craters. Apparently, those landslides are distributed on rather older and dissected crater rims. It means their occurrence must be much later than the crater formation. In most cases, the H/T values of those landslides are around 0.1, like long-runout landslides on the Mars and Earth. Rough estimation of the volume of those landslides implies H/V dependency on volume, i.e. larger landslides shows smaller H/V. The trend is very similar to the ones published by Scheidegger and Hsu. Past studies proved that ground water might have taken most important role in the presence of such low H/L landslide events on the earth and Mars due to excess pore water pressure generation under undrained loading condition of saturated ground soils. However, there have been no evidence nor implication reported, of past water existence on the moon. Possible mechanisms of these low H/T on the crater are (1) moon quake due to nearby meteor impact; (2) shear resistance reduction due to long-term physical/chemical weathering and existence of little ground water; (3) exotic mechanism including tectonic function.

  14. Crater Copernicus

    Science.gov (United States)

    1999-01-01

    HUBBLE SHOOTS THE MOON in a change of venue from peering at the distant universe, NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has taken a look at Earth's closest neighbor in space, the Moon. Hubble was aimed at one of the Moon's most dramatic and photogenic targets, the 58 mile-wide (93 km) impact crater Copernicus. The image was taken while the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph(STIS) was aimed at a different part of the moon to measure the colors of sunlight reflected off the Moon. Hubble cannot look at the Sun directly and so must use reflected light to make measurements of the Sun's spectrum. Once calibrated by measuring the Sun's spectrum, the STIS can be used to study how the planets both absorb and reflect sunlight.(upper left)The Moon is so close to Earth that Hubble would need to take a mosaic of 130 pictures to cover the entire disk. This ground-based picture from Lick Observatory shows the area covered in Hubble's photomosaic with the WideField Planetary Camera 2..(center)Hubble's crisp bird's-eye view clearly shows the ray pattern of bright dust ejected out of the crater over one billion years ago, when an asteroid larger than a mile across slammed into the Moon. Hubble can resolve features as small as 600 feet across in the terraced walls of the crater, and the hummock-like blanket of material blasted out by the meteor impact.(lower right)A close-up view of Copernicus' terraced walls. Hubble can resolve features as small as 280 feet across.

  15. Automated detection and classification for craters based on geometric matching

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chen, Jian-qing; Cui, Ping-yuan; Cui, Hui-tao

    2011-08-01

    Crater detection and classification are critical elements for planetary mission preparations and landing site selection. This paper presents a methodology for the automated detection and matching of craters on images of planetary surface such as Moon, Mars and asteroids. For craters usually are bowl shaped depression, craters can be figured as circles or circular arc during landing phase. Based on the hypothesis that detected crater edges is related to craters in a template by translation, rotation and scaling, the proposed matching method use circles to fitting craters edge, and align circular arc edges from the image of the target body with circular features contained in a model. The approach includes edge detection, edge grouping, reference point detection and geometric circle model matching. Finally we simulate planetary surface to test the reasonableness and effectiveness of the proposed method.

  16. Technical problems and future cratering experiments

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Knox, J.B.

    1969-01-01

    This paper reviews some of the key technical problems that remain to be solved in nuclear cratering technology. These include: (1) developing a broader understanding of the effects that material properties and water content of the earth materials around the shot have on cratering behavior, (2) extending the experimental investigation of retarc formation to include intermediate yields and various materials, and (3) improving our ability to predict the escape of radioactive material to the atmosphere to form the cloud source responsible for fallout. The formation processes of ejecta craters, retarcs, and subsidence craters are described in the light of our present understanding, and the major gaps in our understanding are indicated. Methods of calculating crater and retarc formation are discussed, with particular reference to the input information needed. Methods for calculating fallout are presented, and their shortcomings are discussed. A preliminary analysis of the safety factors associated with the presently proposed nuclear excavation concepts is presented. (author)

  17. Buried Mid-Latitude Craters

    Science.gov (United States)

    2004-01-01

    MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-577, 17 December 2003This September 2003 Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) picture shows six circular features, three of which exhibit concentric, or 'bullseye,' patterns within them. Each circular feature is the remains of a partly-buried, partly-eroded, and partly-filled meteor impact crater. These occur in northeastern Arabia Terra. Areas such as this, located near the middle latitudes of Mars, commonly have a 'scabby' or roughened appearance. The cause of this 'terrain roughening' texture is unknown, although some scientists have speculated that it might result from the erosion and removal (by way of sublimation) of ground ice. This idea remains highly speculative. These features are located near 28.4oN, 317.5oW. The image covers an area 3 km (1.9 mi) wide; sunlight illuminates the scene from the lower left.

  18. Lunar and Planetary Science XXXV: Ancient Mars Water and Landforms

    Science.gov (United States)

    2004-01-01

    Titles in this section include: 1) Giant Lowland Polygons: Relics of an Ancient Martian Ocean? 2) Lake Shorelines: Earth Analogs for Hypothesized Martian Coastal Features; 3) Complex Evolution of Paleolacustrine Systems on Mars: An Example from the Holden Crater; 4) Geomorphology and Hydraulics of Ma'adim Vallis, Mars, During a Noachian/Hesperian Boundary Paleoflood; 5) Geologic Evolution of Dao Vallis, Mars; 6) Advances in Reconstructing the Geologic History of the Chryse Region Outflow Channels on Mars; 7) Ravi Vallis, Mars - Paleoflood Origin and Genesis of Secondary Chaos Zones; 8) Walla Walla Vallis and Wallula Crater: Two Recently Discovered Martian Features Record Aqueous History; 9) Tharsis Recharge: a Source of Groundwater for Martian Outflow Channels; 10) Factors Controlling Water Volumes and Release Rates in Martian Outflow Channels; 11) Significance of Confined Cavernous Systems for Outflow Channel Water Sources, Reactivation Mechanisms and Chaos Formation; 12) Systematic Differences in Topography of Martian and Terrestrial Drainage Basins; 13) Waves on Seas of Mars and Titan: Wind-Tunnel Experiments on Wind-Wave Generation in Extraterrestrial Atmospheres.

  19. Siderophile Element Constraints on the Conditions of Core Formation in Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Righter, K.; Humayun, M.

    2012-01-01

    Siderophile element concentrations in planetary basalts and mantle samples have been used to estimate conditions of core formation for many years and have included applications to Earth, Moon, Mars and asteroid 4 Vesta [1]. For Earth, we have samples of mantle and a diverse collection of mantle melts which have provided a mature understanding of the how to reconstruct the concentration of siderophile elements in mantle materials, from only concentrations in surficial basalt (e.g., [2]). This approach has led to the consensus views that Earth underwent an early magma ocean stage to pressures of 40-50 GPa (e.g., [3,4]), Moon melted extensively and formed a small (approx. 2 mass %) metallic core [5], and 4 Vesta contains a metallic core that is approximately 18 mass % [6,7]. Based on new data from newly found meteorites, robotic spacecraft, and experimental partitioning studies, [8] showed that eight siderophile elements (Ni, Co, Mo, W, Ga, P, V and Cr) are consistent with equilibration of a 20 mass% S-rich metallic core with the mantle at pressures of 14 +/- 3 GPa. We aim to test this rather simple scenario with additional analyses of meteorites for a wide range of siderophile elements, and application of new experimental data for the volatile siderophile and highly siderophile elements.

  20. Detection of lunar floor-fractured craters using machine learning methods

    Science.gov (United States)

    Thorey, C.

    2015-10-01

    About 200 Floor Fractured Craters (FFCs) have been identified by Schultz (1976) on the Moon, mainly around the lunar maria. These craters are a class of impact craters that are distinguished by having radi-ally and concentric floor-fractured networks and ab-normally shallow floors. In some cases, the uplift of the crater floor can be as large as 50% of the initial crater depth. These impact craters are interpreted to have undergone endogenous deformations after their formation.

  1. Covariant C and O Isotope Trends in Some Terrestrial Carbonates and ALH 84001: Possible Linkage Through Similar Formation Processes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Volk, Kathryn E.; Niles, Paul B.; Socki, Richard A.

    2011-01-01

    Carbonate minerals found on the surface of Mars and in martian meteorites indicate that liquid water has played a significant role in the planet's history. These findings have raised questions regarding the history of the martian hydrosphere and atmosphere as well as the possibility of life. Sunset Crater, Arizona is a dry environment with relatively high evaporation and brief periods of precipitation. This environment resembles Mars and may make Sunset Crater a good analog to martian carbonates. In this study we sought to identify discrete micro-scale isotopic variation within the carbonate crusts in Sunset Crater to see if they resembled the micro-scale isotope variation found in ALH 84001 carbonates. Sunset Crater carbonate formation may be used as a martian analog and ultimately provide insight into carbonate formation in ALH 84001.

  2. Late Hesperian plains formation and degradation in a low sedimentation zone of the northern lowlands of Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rodriguez, J.A.P.; Tanaka, K.L.; Berman, D.C.; Kargel, J.S.

    2010-01-01

    The plains materials that form the martian northern lowlands suggest large-scale sedimentation in this part of the planet. The general view is that these sedimentary materials were transported from zones of highland erosion via outflow channels and other fluvial systems. The study region, the northern circum-polar plains south of Gemini Scopuli on Planum Boreum, comprises the only extensive zone in the martian northern lowlands that does not include sub-basin floors nor is downstream from outflow channel systems. Therefore, within this zone, the ponding of fluids and fluidized sediments associated with outflow channel discharges is less likely to have taken place relative to sub-basin areas that form the other northern circum-polar plains surrounding Planum Boreum. Our findings indicate that during the Late Hesperian sedimentary deposits produced by the erosion of an ancient cratered landscape, as well as via sedimentary volcanism, were regionally emplaced to form extensive plains materials within the study region. The distribution and magnitude of surface degradation suggest that groundwater emergence from an aquifer that extended from the Arabia Terra cratered highlands to the northern lowlands took place non-catastrophically and regionally within the study region through faulted upper crustal materials. In our model the margin of the Utopia basin adjacent to the study region may have acted as a boundary to this aquifer. Partial destruction and dehydration of these Late Hesperian plains, perhaps induced by high thermal anomalies resulting from the low thermal conductivity of these materials, led to the formation of extensive knobby fields and pedestal craters. During the Early Amazonian, the rates of regional resurfacing within the study region decreased significantly; perhaps because the knobby ridges forming the eroded impact crater rims and contractional ridges consisted of thermally conductive indurated materials, thereby inducing freezing of the tectonically

  3. Field investigation and spectral characterization of Banded Iron Formation, Odisha, India: Implications to hydration processes on Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Singh, M.; Singhal, J.; Rajesh, V. J.

    2015-10-01

    Banded iron formations are major rock units having hematite layers intermittent with silica rich layers and formed mainly by the sedimentary processes during Late-Archaean to Mid-Proterozoic time period. They found their significance as a major iron-ore deposits and the first terrestrial rock bodies with existing life signatures on Earth. Here, we propose Odisha BIFs as a probable analogue site to the martian layered hematite deposit and its implications in inferring the sedimentary processes,hydration and astrobiological activities on Mars. Hyperspectral analysis identifies the optimum bands for the identification of similar type of deposits on Mars. Odisha BIFs have been found well comparable with the existing analogue sites of Lake Superior and Carajas Formation, Brazil.

  4. Layers and Boulders in Crater Wall, Nepenthes Mensae Region

    Science.gov (United States)

    1999-01-01

    Peering down into craters offers Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) scientists an opportunity to examine one of the few landforms that Mars shares in common with the other planets and moons of our Solar System.The picture on the left (above) is a MOC context frame taken at the same time as the MOC high resolution image on the right. The white box on the left shows the location of the high resolution view. The high resolution image was targeted on a 3 kilometers (1.9 miles) wide impact crater on the floor of a larger crater in the Nepenthes Mensae region (near 3oS, 239oW). The context image is about 115 km (71 mi) across, the high-resolution image is 3 km (1.9 mi) across, and both are illuminated from the left/lower left.The 3 km diameter crater in the MOC image on the right is three times wider than the famous Meteor Crater in northern Arizona, USA. The high resolution image shows many small windblown drifts or dunes in the low areas both within the crater and outside on the surrounding terrain. Some portions of the crater's walls exhibit outcrops of bare, layered rock. Large boulders have been dislodged from the walls and have tumbled down the slopes to the crater floor. Many of these boulders are bigger than school buses and automobiles.

  5. Combining meteorites and missions to explore Mars.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McCoy, Timothy J; Corrigan, Catherine M; Herd, Christopher D K

    2011-11-29

    Laboratory studies of meteorites and robotic exploration of Mars reveal scant atmosphere, no evidence of plate tectonics, past evidence for abundant water, and a protracted igneous evolution. Despite indirect hints, direct evidence of a martian origin came with the discovery of trapped atmospheric gases in one meteorite. Since then, the study of martian meteorites and findings from missions have been linked. Although the meteorite source locations are unknown, impact ejection modeling and spectral mapping of Mars suggest derivation from small craters in terrains of Amazonian to Hesperian age. Whereas most martian meteorites are young ( 4.5 Ga and formation of enriched and depleted reservoirs. However, the history inferred from martian meteorites conflicts with results from recent Mars missions, calling into doubt whether the igneous histor y inferred from the meteorites is applicable to Mars as a whole. Allan Hills 84001 dates to 4.09 Ga and contains fluid-deposited carbonates. Accompanying debate about the mechanism and temperature of origin of the carbonates came several features suggestive of past microbial life in the carbonates. Although highly disputed, the suggestion spurred interest in habitable extreme environments on Earth and throughout the Solar System. A flotilla of subsequent spacecraft has redefined Mars from a volcanic planet to a hydrologically active planet that may have harbored life. Understanding the history and habitability of Mars depends on understanding the coupling of the atmosphere, surface, and subsurface. Sample return that brings back direct evidence from these diverse reservoirs is essential.

  6. Revisiting the crater of doom

    Science.gov (United States)

    de Régules, Sergio

    2015-09-01

    The Chicxulub impact structure in Mexico is widely believed to be the site of the asteroid impact that allegedly killed the dinosaurs. As Sergio de Régules reports, scientists are now preparing to glean from it new insights into crater formation, materials science and the mechanisms of mass extinction.

  7. Shallow radar (SHARAD) sounding observations of the Medusae Fossae Formation, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Carter, L.M.; Campbell, B.A.; Watters, T.R.; Phillips, R.J.; Putzig, N.E.; Safaeinili, A.; Plaut, J.J.; Okubo, C.H.; Egan, A.F.; Seu, R.; Biccari, D.; Orosei, R.

    2009-01-01

    The SHARAD (shallow radar) sounding radar on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter detects subsurface reflections in the eastern and western parts of the Medusae Fossae Formation (MFF). The radar waves penetrate up to 580 m of the MFF and detect clear subsurface interfaces in two locations: west MFF between 150 and 155?? E and east MFF between 209 and 213?? E. Analysis of SHARAD radargrams suggests that the real part of the permittivity is ???3.0, which falls within the range of permittivity values inferred from MARSIS data for thicker parts of the MFF. The SHARAD data cannot uniquely determine the composition of the MFF material, but the low permittivity implies that the upper few hundred meters of the MFF material has a high porosity. One possibility is that the MFF is comprised of low-density welded or interlocked pyroclastic deposits that are capable of sustaining the steep-sided yardangs and ridges seen in imagery. The SHARAD surface echo power across the MFF is low relative to typical martian plains, and completely disappears in parts of the east MFF that correspond to the radar-dark Stealth region. These areas are extremely rough at centimeter to meter scales, and the lack of echo power is most likely due to a combination of surface roughness and a low near-surface permittivity that reduces the echo strength from any locally flat regions. There is also no radar evidence for internal layering in any of the SHARAD data for the MFF, despite the fact that tens-of-meters scale layering is apparent in infrared and visible wavelength images of nearby areas. These interfaces may not be detected in SHARAD data if their permittivity contrasts are low, or if the layers are discontinuous. The lack of closely spaced internal radar reflectors suggests that the MFF is not an equatorial analog to the current martian polar deposits, which show clear evidence of multiple internal layers in SHARAD data. ?? 2008 Elsevier Inc.

  8. Compositional variations in sands of the Bagnold Dunes, Gale crater, Mars, from visible-shortwave infrared spectroscopy and comparison with ground truth from the Curiosity rover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lapotre, M. G. A.; Ehlmann, B. L.; Minson, S. E.; Arvidson, R. E.; Ayoub, F.; Fraeman, A. A.; Ewing, R. C.; Bridges, N. T.

    2017-12-01

    During its ascent up Mount Sharp, the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover traversed the Bagnold Dune Field. We model sand modal mineralogy and grain size at four locations near the rover traverse, using orbital shortwave infrared single-scattering albedo spectra and a Markov chain Monte Carlo implementation of Hapke's radiative transfer theory to fully constrain uncertainties and permitted solutions. These predictions, evaluated against in situ measurements at one site from the Curiosity rover, show that X-ray diffraction-measured mineralogy of the basaltic sands is within the 95% confidence interval of model predictions. However, predictions are relatively insensitive to grain size and are nonunique, especially when modeling the composition of minerals with solid solutions. We find an overall basaltic mineralogy and show subtle spatial variations in composition in and around the Bagnold Dunes, consistent with a mafic enrichment of sands with cumulative aeolian-transport distance by sorting of olivine, pyroxene, and plagioclase grains. Furthermore, the large variations in Fe and Mg abundances ( 20 wt %) at the Bagnold Dunes suggest that compositional variability may be enhanced by local mixing of well-sorted sand with proximal sand sources. Our estimates demonstrate a method for orbital quantification of composition with rigorous uncertainty determination and provide key constraints for interpreting in situ measurements of compositional variability within Martian aeolian sandstones.

  9. Compositional variations in sands of the Bagnold Dunes, Gale Crater, Mars, from visible-shortwave infrared spectroscopy and comparison with ground truth from the Curiosity Rover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lapotre, Mathieu G. A.; Ehlmann, B. L.; Minson, Sarah E.; Arvidson, R. E.; Ayoub, F.; Fraeman, A. A.; Ewing, R. C.; Bridges, N. T.

    2017-01-01

    During its ascent up Mount Sharp, the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover traversed the Bagnold Dune Field. We model sand modal mineralogy and grain size at four locations near the rover traverse, using orbital shortwave infrared single scattering albedo spectra and a Markov-Chain Monte Carlo implementation of Hapke's radiative transfer theory to fully constrain uncertainties and permitted solutions. These predictions, evaluated against in situ measurements at one site from the Curiosity rover, show that XRD-measured mineralogy of the basaltic sands is within the 95% confidence interval of model predictions. However, predictions are relatively insensitive to grain size and are non-unique, especially when modeling the composition of minerals with solid solutions. We find an overall basaltic mineralogy and show subtle spatial variations in composition in and around the Bagnold dunes, consistent with a mafic enrichment of sands with cumulative transport distance by sorting of olivine, pyroxene, and plagioclase grains during aeolian saltation. Furthermore, the large variations in Fe and Mg abundances (~20 wt%) at the Bagnold Dunes suggest that compositional variability induced by wind sorting may be enhanced by local mixing with proximal sand sources. Our estimates demonstrate a method for orbital quantification of composition with rigorous uncertainty determination and provide key constraints for interpreting in situ measurements of compositional variability within martian aeolian sandstones.

  10. Cloud Formation and Water Transport on Mars after Major Outflow Events

    Science.gov (United States)

    Santiago, D. L.; Colaprete, A.; Kreslavsky, M.; Kahre, M. A.; Asphaug, E.

    2012-01-01

    The triggering of a robust water cycle on Mars might have been caused by the gigantic flooding events evidenced by outflow channels. We use the Ames Mars General Circulation Model (MGCM) to test this hypothesis, studying how these presumably abrupt eruptions of water might have affected the climate of Mars in the past. We model where the water ultimately went as part of a transient atmospheric water cycle, to answer questions including: (1) Can sudden introductions of large amounts of water on the Martian surface lead to a new equilibrated water cycle? (2) What are the roles of water vapor and water ice clouds to sudden changes in the water cycle on Mars? (3) How are radiative feedbacks involved with this? (4) What is the ultimate fate of the outflow water? (5) Can we tie certain geological features to outflow water redistributed by the atmosphere?

  11. Formation of Mg-aluminosilicates During Early Diagenesis of Carbonate Sediments in the Volcanic Crater Lake of Dziani Dzaha (Mayotte - Indian Ocean)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Milesi, V. P.; Jezequel, D.; Debure, M.; Marty, N.; Guyot, F. J.; Claret, F.; Virgone, A.; Gaucher, E.; Ader, M.

    2017-12-01

    Authigenic clays are increasingly reported in ancient carbonate rocks, but their origin remains poorly understood, strongly limiting paleoenvironmental interpretations. To tackle this issue, the carbonate sediments of the volcanic crater lake Dziani Dzaha are studied and reactive transport modeling is performed to assess the processes originating carbonate sediments associated with Mg-rich silicates during early diagenesis. The Dziani Dzaha is characterized by CO2-rich gases bubbling in three different locations, a high primary productivity leading to organic carbon contents of up to 30wt.% in the sediment, an alkalinity of 0.26 molal in the water column and pH values of 9 to 9.5. Characterization of bulk samples and clay fraction (fueled by inputs of CO2-rich volcanic gases, which generates high pH, promoting the formation of saponite, aragonite and hydromagnesite, which precipitates at first before being destabilized at depth due to organic matter mineralization. The observed carbon cycle, influenced by volcanic gases, may thus play a key role in the development of carbonate rocks associated with Mg-silicates.

  12. Implications of a global survey of venusian impact craters

    Science.gov (United States)

    Herrick, Robert R.; Phillips, Roger J.

    1994-01-01

    We present a global survey of the areal distribution, size-frequency distribution, and morphometric properties of the venusian impact cratering record. We explore the resurfacing history of Venus, crater degradation, ejecta emplacement, and cratering mechanics. The number of volcanically embayed and tectonically deformed craters from 0.5 to 1.0 km above mean planetary radius is disproportionately high for an otherwise crater-deficient elevation range. More resurfacing occurred in this range, an elevation range dominated by volcanic rises, rifts, and coronae, than elsewhere on Venus. Although the majority of craters appear to be relatively undisturbed and have intact ejecta blankets, some craters appear particularly `fresh' because thay have radar-bright floors, a radar-dark halo surrounding the ejecta blanket, and a west facing parabola of low radar return; 20, 35, and 8%, respectively, of craters with diameters greater than 22.6 km have these features. Characteristics of ejecta deposits for venusian craters change substantially with size, particularly at 20 km crater diameter, which marks the transition at which the boundaries of ejecta blankets go from ragged to lobate and the slope of the ejecta distance vs diameter curve steepens. Secondary craters are a ubiquitous part of the ejecta blanket for craters over 50 km but occur infrequently as isolated rays about smaller craters. Comparison of complex craters found on Venus with those of other planets gave results that were consistent with the idea that interplanetary differences in complex crater shape are controlled by interplanetary differences in gravity and crustal strength. The interplanetary comparison indicates that Venus, the Moon, and Mercury appear to have stronger crusts than do Mars and Ganymede/Callisto.

  13. Evidence for self-secondary cratering of Copernican-age continuous ejecta deposits on the Moon

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zanetti, M.; Stadermann, A.; Jolliff, B.; Hiesinger, H.; van der Bogert, C. H.; Plescia, J.

    2017-12-01

    Crater size-frequency distributions on the ejecta blankets of Aristarchus and Tycho Craters are highly variable, resulting in apparent absolute model age differences despite ejecta being emplaced in a geologic instant. Crater populations on impact melt ponds are a factor of 4 less than on the ejecta, and crater density increases with distance from the parent crater rim. Although target material properties may affect crater diameters and in turn crater size-frequency distribution (CSFD) results, they cannot completely reconcile crater density and population differences observed within the ejecta blanket. We infer from the data that self-secondary cratering, the formation of impact craters immediately following the emplacement of the continuous ejecta blanket by ejecta from the parent crater, contributed to the population of small craters (impact melt ponds most accurately reflecting the primary crater flux (N(1) = 3.4 × 10-5). Using the cratering flux recorded on Tycho impact melt deposits calibrated to accepted exposure age (109 ± 1.5 Ma) as ground truth, and using similar crater distribution analyses on impact melt at Aristarchus Crater, we infer the age of Aristarchus Crater to be ∼280 Ma. The broader implications of this work suggest that the measured cratering rate on ejecta blankets throughout the Solar System may be overestimated, and caution should be exercised when using small crater diameters (i.e. < 300 m on the Moon) for absolute model age determination.

  14. Spectral characteristics of banded iron formations in Singhbhum craton, eastern India: Implications for hematite deposits on Mars

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mahima Singh

    2016-11-01

    Full Text Available Banded iron formations (BIFs are major rock units having hematite layers intermittent with silica rich layers and formed by sedimentary processes during late Archean to mid Proterozoic time. In terrestrial environment, hematite deposits are mainly found associated with banded iron formations. The BIFs in Lake Superior (Canada and Carajas (Brazil have been studied by planetary scientists to trace the evolution of hematite deposits on Mars. Hematite deposits are extensively identified in Meridiani region on Mars. Many hypotheses have been proposed to decipher the mechanism for the formation of these deposits. On the basis of geomorphological and mineralogical studies, aqueous environment of deposition is found to be the most supportive mechanism for its secondary iron rich deposits. In the present study, we examined the spectral characteristics of banded iron formations of Joda and Daitari located in Singhbhum craton in eastern India to check its potentiality as an analog to the aqueous/marine environment on Mars. The prominent banding feature of banded iron formations is in the range of few millimeters to few centimeters in thickness. Fe rich bands are darker (gray in color compared to the light reddish jaspilitic chert bands. Thin quartz veins (<4 mm are occasionally observed in the hand-specimens of banded iron formations. Spectral investigations have been conducted in VIS/NIR region of electromagnetic spectrum in the laboratory conditions. Optimum absorption bands identified include 0.65, 0.86, 1.4 and 1.9 μm, in which 0.56 and 0.86 μm absorption bands are due to ferric iron and 1.4 and 1.9 μm bands are due to OH/H2O. To validate the mineralogical results obtained from VIS/NIR spectral radiometry, laser Raman and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopic techniques were utilized and the results were found to be similar. Goethite-hematite association in banded iron formation in Singhbhum craton suggests dehydration activity, which has

  15. Investigating CO2 Reservoirs at Gale Crater and Evidence for a Dense Early Atmosphere

    Science.gov (United States)

    Niles, P. B.; Archer, P. D.; Heil, E.; Eigenbrode, J.; McAdam, A.; Sutter, B.; Franz, H.; Navarro-Gonzalez, R.; Ming, D.; Mahaffy, P. R.; hide

    2015-01-01

    One of the most compelling features of the Gale landing site is its age. Based on crater counts, the formation of Gale crater is dated to be near the beginning of the Hesperian near the pivotal Hesperian/Noachian transition. This is a time period on Mars that is linked to increased fluvial activity through valley network formation and also marks a transition from higher erosion rates/clay mineral formation to lower erosion rates with mineralogies dominated by sulfate minerals. Results from the Curiosity mission have shown extensive evidence for fluvial activity within the crater suggesting that sediments on the floor of the crater and even sediments making up Mt. Sharp itself were the result of longstanding activity of liquid water. Warm/wet conditions on early Mars are likely due to a thicker atmosphere and increased abundance of greenhouse gases including the main component of the atmosphere, CO2. Carbon dioxide is minor component of the Earth's atmosphere yet plays a major role in surface water chemistry, weathering, and formation of secondary minerals. An ancient martian atmosphere was likely dominated by CO2 and any waters in equilibrium with this atmosphere would have different chemical characteristics. Studies have noted that high partial pressures of CO2 would result in increased carbonic acid formation and lowering of the pH so that carbonate minerals are not stable. However, if there were a dense CO2 atmosphere present at the Hesperian/Noachian transition, it would have to be stored in a carbon reservoir on the surface or lost to space. The Mt. Sharp sediments are potentially one of the best places on Mars to investigate these CO2 reservoirs as they are proposed to have formed in the early Hesperian, from an alkaline lake, and record the transition to an aeolian dominated regime near the top of the sequence. The total amount of CO2 in the Gale crater soils and sediments is significant but lower than expected if a thick atmosphere was present at the

  16. 'Endurance' Courtesy of Mars Express

    Science.gov (United States)

    2004-01-01

    NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity used its panoramic camera to capture this false-color image of the interior of 'Endurance Crater' on the rover's 188th martian day (Aug. 4, 2004). The image data were relayed to Earth by the European Space Agency's Mars Express orbiter. The image was generated from separate frames using the cameras 750-, 530- and 480-nanometer filters.

  17. Using quantitative topographic analysis to understand the role of water on transport and deposition processes on crater walls

    Science.gov (United States)

    Palucis, Marisa Christina

    The amount of water runoff need to evolve landscapes is rarely assessed. Empirical studies correlate erosion rate to runoff or mean annual precipitation, but rarely is the full history of a landscape known such that it is possible to assess how much water was required to produce it. While this may not seem to be of primary importance on Earth where water is commonly plentiful, on Mars the amount of water to drive landscape evolution is a key question. Here we tackle this question through a series of five chapters, one devoted to field work at Meteor Crater, another to laboratory experiments about controlling processes, and then two chapters on analysis of landforms and implications of water runoff on Mars (associated with the Mars Science Laboratory mission to Gale Crater), and then we complete this effort with a consideration of how we can reliably assign relative timing between events resulting in small depositional features. What follows below is a summary of what is found in each chapter. Meteor Crater, a 4.5 km2 impact crater that formed ˜50,000 years ago in northern Arizona, has prominent gully features on its steep walls that appear similar to some gullies found on Mars. At the crater bottom, there are over 30 meters of lake sediments from a lake that disappeared ˜10,000 to 11,000 years ago, indicating the transition from the Pleistocene to the current, drier climate. A combination of fieldwork, cosmogenic dating, and topographic analysis of LiDAR data show that debris flows, not seepage erosion and fluvial processes as previously suggested in the literature, drove gully incision during their formation period of ˜40,000 years before the onset of the Holocene. Runoff from bare bedrock source areas high on the crater wall cut into lower debris mantled slopes, where the runoff bulked up and transformed into debris flows that carried boulders down to ˜5 to 8 degree slopes, leaving distinct boulder lined levees and lobate tongues of terminal debris deposits

  18. Morphological Indicators of a Mascon Beneath Ceres's Largest Crater, Kerwan

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bland, M. T.; Ermakov, A. I.; Raymond, C. A.; Williams, D. A.; Bowling, T. J.; Preusker, F.; Park, R. S.; Marchi, S.; Castillo-Rogez, J. C.; Fu, R. R.; Russell, C. T.

    2018-02-01

    Gravity data of Ceres returned by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Dawn spacecraft is consistent with a lower density crust of variable thickness overlying a higher density mantle. Crustal thickness variations can affect the long-term, postimpact modification of impact craters on Ceres. Here we show that the unusual morphology of the 280 km diameter crater Kerwan may result from viscous relaxation in an outer layer that thins substantially beneath the crater floor. We propose that such a structure is consistent with either impact-induced uplift of the high-density mantle beneath the crater or from volatile loss during the impact event. In either case, the subsurface structure inferred from the crater morphology is superisostatic, and the mass excess would result in a positive Bouguer anomaly beneath the crater, consistent with the highest-degree gravity data from Dawn. Ceres joins the Moon, Mars, and Mercury in having basin-associated gravity anomalies, although their origin may differ substantially.

  19. The effect of target properties on transient crater scaling for simple craters

    Science.gov (United States)

    Prieur, N. C.; Rolf, T.; Luther, R.; Wünnemann, K.; Xiao, Z.; Werner, S. C.

    2017-08-01

    The effects of the coefficient of friction and porosity on impact cratering are not sufficiently considered in scaling laws that predict the crater size from a known impactor size, velocity, and mass. We carried out a systematic numerical study employing more than 1000 two-dimensional models of simple crater formation under lunar conditions in targets with varying properties. A simple numerical setup is used where targets are approximated as granular or brecciated materials, and any compression of porous materials results in permanent compaction. The results are found to be consistent with impact laboratory experiments for water, low-strength and low-porosity materials (e.g., wet sand), and sands. Using this assumption, we found that both the friction coefficient and porosity are important for estimating transient crater diameters as is the strength term in crater scaling laws, i.e., the effective strength. The effects of porosity and friction coefficient on impact cratering were parameterized and incorporated into π group scaling laws, and predict transient crater diameters within an accuracy of ±5% for targets with friction coefficients f ≥ 0.4 and porosities Φ = 0-30%. Moreover, 90 crater scaling relationships are made available and can be used to estimate transient crater diameters on various terrains and geological units with different coefficient of friction, porosity, and cohesion. The derived relationships are most robust for targets with Φ > 10-15%, applicable for a lunar environment, and could therefore yield significant insights into the influence of target properties on cratering statistics.

  20. What Really Happened to Earth's Older Craters?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bottke, William; Mazrouei, Sara; Ghent, Rebecca; Parker, Alex

    2017-10-01

    Most assume the Earth’s crater record is heavily biased, with erosion/tectonics destroying older craters. This matches expectations, but is it actually true? To test this idea, we compared Earth’s crater record, where nearly all D ≥ 20 km craters are ages were computed using a new method employing LRO-Diviner temperature data. Large lunar rocks have high thermal inertia and remain warm through the night relative to the regolith. Analysis shows young craters with numerous meter-sized fragments are easy to pick out from older craters with eroded fragments. Moreover, an inverse relationship between rock abundance (RA) and crater age exists. Using measured RA values, we computed ages for 111 rocky craters with D ≥ 10 km that formed between 80°N and 80°S over the last 1 Gyr.We found several surprising results. First, the production rate of D ≥ 10 km lunar craters increased by a factor of 2.2 [-0.9, +4.4; 95% confidence limits] over the past 250 Myr compared to the previous 750 Myr. Thus, the NEO population is higher now than it has been for the last billion years. Second, the size and age distributions of lunar and terrestrial craters for D ≥ 20 km over the last 650 Myr have similar shapes. This implies that crater erasure must be limited on stable terrestrial terrains; in an average sense, for a given region, the Earth either keeps all or loses all of its D ≥ 20 craters at the same rate, independent of size. It also implies the observed deficit of large terrestrial craters between 250-650 Myr is not preservation bias but rather reflects a distinctly lower impact flux. We predict 355 ± 86 D ≥ 20 km craters formed on Earth over the last 650 Myr. Only 38 ± 6 are known, so the ratio, 10.7 ± 3.1%, is a measure of the Earth’s surface that is reasonably stable to large crater formation over 650 Myr. If erosion had dominated, the age distribution of terrestrial craters would be strongly skewed toward younger ages, which is not observed. We predict

  1. Biomarker Analysis of Samples Visually Identified as Microbial in the Eocene Green River Formation: An Analogue for Mars.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Olcott Marshall, Alison; Cestari, Nicholas A

    2015-09-01

    One of the major exploration targets for current and future Mars missions are lithofacies suggestive of biotic activity. Although such lithofacies are not confirmation of biotic activity, they provide a way to identify samples for further analyses. To test the efficacy of this approach, we identified carbonate samples from the Eocene Green River Formation as "microbial" or "non-microbial" based on the macroscale morphology of their laminations. These samples were then crushed and analyzed by gas chromatography/mass spectroscopy (GC/MS) to determine their lipid biomarker composition. GC/MS analysis revealed that carbonates visually identified as "microbial" contained a higher concentration of more diverse biomarkers than those identified as "non-microbial," suggesting that this could be a viable detection strategy for selecting samples for further analysis or caching on Mars.

  2. Formation of Jarosite in the Marwrth Vallis Region of Mars by Weathering Within Paleo-Ice Deposits

    Science.gov (United States)

    Michalski, J. R.; Niles, Paul B.

    2011-01-01

    Here we report new detections of jarosite in the Mawrth Vallis region of Mars. These newly recognized deposits expand the known occurrences of sulfates [1-2] in the region and further expand the already considerable geologic-mineralogic diversity of the Mawrth Vallis area [3-6]. The occurrence of sulfates such as jarosite in geologic contact with thick deposits of phyllosilicates in the Mawrth Vallis area is a relatively rare case on Mars where the enigmatic transition from an early phyllosilicateforming era to a younger sulfate-forming era [7] can be explored. We propose an ice-weathering model which can potentially explain the formation of jarosite-silicakaolinite within acidic ice deposits.

  3. Recent Impacts on Mars: Cluster Properties and Seismic Signal Predictions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Justine Daubar, Ingrid; Schmerr, Nicholas; Banks, Maria; Marusiak, Angela; Golombek, Matthew P.

    2016-10-01

    Impacts are a key source of seismic waves that are a primary constraint on the formation, evolution, and dynamics of planetary objects. Geophysical missions such as InSight (Banerdt et al., 2013) will monitor seismic signals from internal and external sources. New martian craters have been identified in orbital images (Malin et al., 2006; Daubar et al., 2013). Seismically detecting such impacts and subsequently imaging the resulting craters will provide extremely accurate epicenters and source crater sizes, enabling calibration of seismic velocities, the efficiency of impact-seismic coupling, and retrieval of detailed regional and local internal structure.To investigate recent impact-induced seismicity on Mars, we have assessed ~100 new, dated impact sites. In approximately half of new impacts, the bolide partially disintegrates in the atmosphere, forming multiple craters in a cluster. We incorporate the resulting, more complex, seismic effects in our model. To characterize the variation between sites, we focus on clustered impacts. We report statistics of craters within clusters: diameters, morphometry indicating subsurface layering, strewn-field azimuths indicating impact direction, and dispersion within clusters indicating combined effects of bolide strength and elevation of breakup.Measured parameters are converted to seismic predictions for impact sources using a scaling law relating crater diameter to the momentum and source duration, calibrated for impacts recorded by Apollo (Lognonne et al., 2009). We use plausible ranges for target properties, bolide densities, and impact velocities to bound the seismic moment. The expected seismic sources are modeled in the near field using a 3-D wave propagation code (Petersson et al., 2010) and in the far field using a 1-D wave propagation code (Friederich et al., 1995), for a martian seismic model. Thus we calculate the amplitudes of seismic phases at varying distances, which can be used to evaluate the detectability

  4. Defrosting of Russell Crater Dunes

    Science.gov (United States)

    2007-01-01

    These two images (at right) were acquired by the Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM) 39 days apart at 19:10 UTC (2:10 PM EST) on December 28, 2006 (upper right) and at 20:06 UTC (3:06 PM EST) on February 5, 2007 (lower right). These CRISM data were acquired in 544 colors covering the wavelength range from 0.36-3.92 micrometers, and show features as small as 20 meters (about 65 feet) across. Both images are false color composites of bands at 2.5, 1.5, and 1.25 micrometers, and are nearly centered at the same location, 54.875oS, 12.919oE (upper right) and 54.895oS, 12.943oE (lower right). Each image is approximately 11 kilometers (7 miles) across at its narrowest. These are part of a series of images capturing the evolution of carbon dioxide frost on the surface of the dunes in Russell Crater. Russell Crater is one of many craters in the southern highland region of Mars that contain large areas of sand dunes. The sand in these dunes has accumulated over a very long time period -- perhaps millions of years -- as wind blows over the highland terrain, picking up sand in some places and depositing in others. The topography of the craters forces the wind to blow up and over the crater rims, and the wind often isn't strong enough to keep the tiny grains suspended. This makes the sand fall to the ground and gradually pile up, and over time the surface breezes shape the sand into ripples and dunes. A similar process is at work at the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve in Colorado, USA. The above left image shows a THEMIS daytime infrared mosaic of Russell Crater and the location of its (approximately) 30-kilometer wide dune field in the northeastern quadrant of the crater floor. Superposed on this view and shown enlarged at the upper right is CRISM image FRT000039DF. This CRISM image was acquired during the late Martian southern winter (solar longitude = 157.7o), and the bright blue in this false color composite indicates the presence of

  5. Signs of Landscape Modifications at Martian Crater

    Science.gov (United States)

    2009-01-01

    [figure removed for brevity, see original site] Click on the image for larger version The lower portion of this image from the Thermal Emission Imaging System camera (THEMIS) on NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter shows a crater about 16 kilometers (10 miles) in diameter with features studied as evidence of deposition or erosion. The crater is centered at 40.32 degrees south latitude and 132.5 degrees east longitude, in the eastern portion of the Hellas basin on Mars. It has gullies and arcuate ridges on its north, pole-facing interior wall. This crater is in the center of a larger (60-kilometer or 37-mile diameter) crater with lobate flows on its north, interior wall. The image, number V07798008 in the THEMIS catalog, covers a swath of ground 17.4 kilometers (10.8 miles) wide. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory manages the Mars Odyssey mission for NASA's Office of Space Science. THEMIS was developed by Arizona State University in collaboration with Raytheon Santa Barbara Remote Sensing. The THEMIS investigation is led by Dr. Philip Christensen at Arizona State University. Lockheed Martin Astronautics, Denver, is the prime contractor for the Odyssey project, and developed and built the orbiter. Mission operations are conducted jointly from Lockheed Martin and from JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

  6. The role of strength defects in shaping impact crater planforms

    Science.gov (United States)

    Watters, W. A.; Geiger, L. M.; Fendrock, M.; Gibson, R.; Hundal, C. B.

    2017-04-01

    High-resolution imagery and digital elevation models (DEMs) were used to measure the planimetric shapes of well-preserved impact craters. These measurements were used to characterize the size-dependent scaling of the departure from circular symmetry, which provides useful insights into the processes of crater growth and modification. For example, we characterized the dependence of the standard deviation of radius (σR) on crater diameter (D) as σR ∼ Dm. For complex craters on the Moon and Mars, m ranges from 0.9 to 1.2 among strong and weak target materials. For the martian simple craters in our data set, m varies from 0.5 to 0.8. The value of m tends toward larger values in weak materials and modified craters, and toward smaller values in relatively unmodified craters as well as craters in high-strength targets, such as young lava plains. We hypothesize that m ≈ 1 for planforms shaped by modification processes (slumping and collapse), whereas m tends toward ∼ 1/2 for planforms shaped by an excavation flow that was influenced by strength anisotropies. Additional morphometric parameters were computed to characterize the following planform properties: the planform aspect ratio or ellipticity, the deviation from a fitted ellipse, and the deviation from a convex shape. We also measured the distribution of crater shapes using Fourier decomposition of the planform, finding a similar distribution for simple and complex craters. By comparing the strength of small and large circular harmonics, we confirmed that lunar and martian complex craters are more polygonal at small sizes. Finally, we have used physical and geometrical principles to motivate scaling arguments and simple Monte Carlo models for generating synthetic planforms, which depend on a characteristic length scale of target strength defects. One of these models can be used to generate populations of synthetic planforms which are very similar to the measured population of well-preserved simple craters on

  7. The geologic development of Mars: a review

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Mutch, T.A.; Saunders, R.S.

    1976-01-01

    The planet Mars has been the subject of a continuing program of exploration with the flyby missions of 1964 and 1969, the orbiter of 1971, and the present Viking Project with both orbiters and landers. The overall view of Mars has changed from Earthlike in the prespacecraft era to Moonlike following the flyby missions and finally to a planet with intermediate characteristics. There are many impact craters as on the Moon, but tectonic and volcanic features resembling structures on Earth are also present. However, there is a lack of evidence for the compressional deformation associated with terrestrial plate tectonics and continental drift. The current analyses indicate that Mars has a differentiated interior with a crust and mantle and perhaps a core. Whatever the nature of interior processes, whether overall mantle expansion, plumes, or full scale convection, the effects at the surface have been predominantly vertical with formation of broad regions of uplift and depression. One of the results is hemispheric asymmetry with cratered terrain in the south and younger uncratered plains in the north. (Auth.)

  8. Evidence for rapid topographic evolution and crater degradation on Mercury from simple crater morphometry

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fassett, Caleb I.; Crowley, Malinda C.; Leight, Clarissa; Dyar, M. Darby; Minton, David A.; Hirabayashi, Masatoshi; Thomson, Bradley J.; Watters, Wesley A.

    2017-06-01

    Examining the topography of impact craters and their evolution with time is useful for assessing how fast planetary surfaces evolve. Here, new measurements of depth/diameter (d/D) ratios for 204 craters of 2.5 to 5 km in diameter superposed on Mercury's smooth plains are reported. The median d/D is 0.13, much lower than expected for newly formed simple craters ( 0.21). In comparison, lunar craters that postdate the maria are much less modified, and the median crater in the same size range has a d/D ratio that is nearly indistinguishable from the fresh value. This difference in crater degradation is remarkable given that Mercury's smooth plains and the lunar maria likely have ages that are comparable, if not identical. Applying a topographic diffusion model, these results imply that crater degradation is faster by a factor of approximately two on Mercury than on the Moon, suggesting more rapid landform evolution on Mercury at all scales.Plain Language SummaryMercury and the Moon are both airless bodies that have experienced numerous impact events over billions of years. These impacts form craters in a geologic instant. The question examined in this manuscript is how fast these craters erode after their formation. To simplify the problem, we examined craters of a particular size (2.5 to 5 km in diameter) on a particular geologic terrain type (volcanic smooth plains) on both the Moon and Mercury. We then measured the topography of hundreds of craters on both bodies that met these criteria. Our results suggest that craters on Mercury become shallower much more quickly than craters on the Moon. We estimate that Mercury's topography erodes at a rate at least a factor of two faster than the Moon's.

  9. Carbonate Mineral Formation on Mars: Clues from Stable Isotope Variation Seen in Cryogenic Laboratory Studies of Carbonate Salts

    Science.gov (United States)

    Socki, Richard; Niles, Paul B.; Sun, Tao; Fu, Qi; Romanek, Christopher S.; Gibson, Everett K.

    2013-01-01

    The geologic history of water on the planet Mars is intimately connected to the formation of carbonate minerals through atmospheric CO2 and its control of the climate history of Mars. Carbonate mineral formation under modern martian atmospheric conditions could be a critical factor in controlling the martian climate in a means similar to the rock weathering cycle on Earth. The combination of evidence for liquid water on the martian surface and cold surface conditions suggest fluid freezing could be very common on the surface of Mars. Cryogenic calcite forms readily when a rise in pH occurs as a result of carbon dioxide degassing quickly from freezing Ca-bicarbonate-rich water solutions. This is a process that has been observed in some terrestrial settings such as arctic permafrost cave deposits, lakebeds of the Dry Valleys of Antarctica, and in aufeis (river icings) from rivers of N.E. Alaska. We report here the results of a series of laboratory experiments that were conducted to simulate potential cryogenic carbonate formation on the planet Mars. These results indicate that carbonates grown under martian conditions (controlled atmospheric pressure and temperature) show enrichments from starting bicarbonate fluids in both carbon and oxygen isotopes beyond equilibrium values with average delta13C(DIC-CARB) values of 20.5%0 which exceed the expected equilibrium fractionation factor of [10(sup 3) ln alpha = 13%0] at 0 degC. Oxygen isotopes showed a smaller enrichment with delta18O(H2O-CARB) values of 35.5%0, slightly exceeding the equilibrium fractionation factor of [10(sup 3) ln alpha = 34%0 ] at 0degC. Large kinetic carbon isotope effects during carbonate precipitation could substantially affect the carbon isotope evolution of CO2 on Mars allowing for more efficient removal of 13C from the Noachian atmosphere enriched by atmospheric loss. This mechanism would be consistent with the observations of large carbon isotope variations in martian materials despite the

  10. APXS-derived chemistry of the Bagnold dune sands: Comparisons with Gale Crater soils and the global Martian average

    Science.gov (United States)

    O'Connell-Cooper, C. D.; Spray, J. G.; Thompson, L. M.; Gellert, R.; Berger, J. A.; Boyd, N. I.; Desouza, E. D.; Perrett, G. M.; Schmidt, M.; VanBommel, S. J.

    2017-12-01

    We present Alpha-Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) data for the active Bagnold dune field within the Gale impact crater (Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission). We derive an APXS-based average basaltic soil (ABS) composition for Mars based on past and recent data from the MSL and Mars Exploration Rover (MER) missions. This represents an update to the Taylor and McLennan (2009) average Martian soil and facilitates comparison across Martian data sets. The active Bagnold dune field is compositionally distinct from the ABS, with elevated Mg, Ni, and Fe, suggesting mafic mineral enrichment and uniformly low levels of S, Cl, and Zn, indicating only a minimal dust component. A relationship between decreasing grain size and increasing felsic content is revealed. The Bagnold sands possess the lowest S/Cl of all Martian unconsolidated materials. Gale soils exhibit relatively uniform major element compositions, similar to Meridiani Planum and Gusev Crater basaltic soils (MER missions). However, they show minor enrichments in K, Cr, Mn, and Fe, which may signify a local contribution. The lithified eolian Stimson Formation within the Gale impact crater is compositionally similar to the ABS and Bagnold sands, which provide a modern analogue for these ancient eolian deposits. Compilation of APXS-derived soil data reveals a generally homogenous global composition for Martian soils but one that can be locally modified due to past or extant geologic processes that are limited in both space and time.

  11. Volcano Flank Terraces on Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Byrne, P. K.; van Wyk de Vries, B.; Murray, J. B.; Troll, V. R.

    2008-12-01

    Flank terraces are bulge-like structures that occur on the slopes of at least nine large shield volcanoes on Mars, and three on Earth. Terraces have a convex-upward, convex-outward morphology, with an imbricate "fish scale" stacking pattern in plan. They occur at all elevations, are scale-invariant structures, and have similar proportions to thrust faults on Earth. Suggested mechanisms of formation include elastic self-loading, lithospheric flexure, magma chamber tumescence, flank relaxation, and shallow gravitational slumping. Terrace geometries predicted by most of these mechanisms do not agree with our observations, however. Only lithospheric flexure can fully account for terrace geometry on Mars and Earth, and so is the most likely candidate mechanism for flank terrace formation. To verify this hypothesis, we conducted scaled analogue modelling experiments, and investigated the structures formed during flexure. Cones of a sand-gypsum mix were placed upon a deep layer of silicone gel, to simulate volcanic loads upon viscoelastic Martian crust. Key parameters were varied across our experimental program. In all cases convex topographic structures developed on the cones' flanks, arranged in an imbricate, overlapping plan-view pattern. These structures closely resemble flank terraces observed on Mars, and our results provide for a basic kinematic model of terrace formation. Analogue volcanoes experienced a decrease in upper surface area whilst volume was conserved; the contractional surface strain was accommodated by outward verging, circumferentially striking thrusts. The morphology of experimental structures suggests an orientation of the principal stress axes of σ1 = radial, σ2 = concentric, and σ3 = vertical. Elsewhere (J. B. Murray et al., this volume) we detail the relationship between flank terraces and other structures such as pit craters and gräben, using Ascraeus Mons as a case study. We suggest that terraces may influence the distribution and location

  12. Laboratory approach to natural craters, can we?

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Tara Desai; Dimitri Batani; Marco Bussoli; Annamaria Villa; Biljana Gakovic

    2006-01-01

    Complete test of publication follows. In the present work we report an experimental study on the crater development using Nd:YAG laser system of 40 ps at 1.06 and 0.532 μm laser wavelength with optical energy ∼ 100 and 50 mJ respectively. A flat aluminium (20 x 10 x 2 mm) of density 2.7 g/cc was used as a target. Experiments were performed in a plasma chamber under vacuum exceeding 10 -4 torr. We have measured the diameter and depth of the craters with different techniques. Crater diameter was measured using optical microscope and images were recorded using CCD camera. Optical Confocal Microscope and profilometry were used to measure crater diameter, depth and crater lips. Our preliminary results show that the initial diameter (Φ i ) of the laser spot on the target plays an important role in estimating the final diameter as Φ F = Φ i + E β where E is the incident energy and β ∼ 0.30. under our experimental conditions using 0.532 μm laser. A similar scaling for the meteor-craters yield β = 0.20. - 0.25 for simple craters according to meteor study. Although energy variation is several orders of magnitudes (with few joules laser energy in the lab to megatons of meteor energy), physics of crater formation in both cases draws close resemblance. Aim of our work is to understand the physics of laser produced laboratory craters to recognize some aspects of the natural craters. Recently, Petawatt lasers have been proposed to study meteorite impact physics (Rubenchik LLNL report, 1999). Several megatons meteors approaching the earth with velocity ∼ 20-100 Km/sec is a rare event, approximately, once in million years but accompanying effects persist in time. Remnants of the craters (including simple or complex craters) provide information with substantial margin error about the cratering processes on the terrestrial surfaces (including earth, moon, Jupiter etc.) and, mass and velocity during impact of the dead meteor. Several efforts are being made to scale such

  13. Dome craters on Ganymede

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Moore, J.M.; Malin, M.C.

    1987-01-01

    Voyager observations reveal impact craters on Ganymede that are characterized by the presence of broad, high albedo, topographic domes situated within a central pit. Fifty-seven craters with central domes were identified in images covering approx. 50% of the surface. Owing to limitations in resolution, and viewing and illumination angles, the features identified are most likely a subset of dome craters. The sample appears to be sufficiently large to infer statistically meaningful trends. Dome craters appear to fall into two distinct populations on plots of the ratio of dome diameter to crater rim diameter, large-dome craters and small-dome craters. The two classes are morphologically distinct from one another. In general, large dome craters show little relief and their constituent landforms appear subdued with respect to fresh craters. The physical attributes of small-dome craters are more sharply defined, a characteristic they share with young impact craters of comparable size observed elsewhere in the solar system. Both types of dome craters exhibit central pits in which the dome is located. As it is difficult to produce domes by impact and/or erosional processes, an endogenic origin for the domes is reasonably inferred. Several hypotheses for their origin are proposed. These hypotheses are briefly reviewed

  14. Pluto is the new Mars!

    Science.gov (United States)

    Moore, Jeffrey M.; Mckinnon, William B.; Spencer, John R.; Howard, Alan D.; Grundy, William M.; Stern, S. Alan; Weaver, Harold A.; Young, Leslie A.; Ennico, Kimberly; Olkin, Cathy

    2016-01-01

    Data from NASA's New Horizons encounter with Pluto in July 2015 revealed an astoundingly complex world. The surface seen on the encounter hemisphere ranged in age from ancient to recent. A vast craterless plain of slowly convecting solid nitrogen resides in a deep primordial impact basin, reminiscent of young enigmatic deposits in Mars' Hellas basin. Like Mars, regions of Pluto are dominated by valleys, though the Pluto valleys are thought to be carved by nitrogen glaciers. Pluto has fretted terrain and halo craters. Pluto is cut by tectonics of several different ages. Like Mars, vast tracts on Pluto are mantled by dust and volatiles. Just as on Mars, Pluto has landscapes that systematically vary with latitude due to past and present seasonal (and mega-seasonal) effects on two major volatiles. On Mars, those volatiles are H2O and CO2; on Pluto they are CH4 and N2. Like Mars, some landscapes on Pluto defy easy explanation. In the Plutonian arctic there is a region of large (approx. 40 km across) deep (approx. 3-4 km) pits that probably could not be formed by sublimation, or any other single process, alone. Equally bizarre is the Bladed terrain, which is composed of fields of often roughly aligned blade-like ridges covering the flanks and crests of broad regional swells. Topping the unexpected are two large mounds approximately150 km across, approx. 5-6 km high, with great central depressions at their summits. The central depressions are almost as deep as the mounds are tall. These mounds have many of the characteristics of volcanic mountains seen on Mars and elsewhere in the inner solar system. Hypotheses for the formation of these Plutonian mounds so far all have challenges, principally revolving around the need for H2O ice to support their relief and the difficulty imagining mechanisms that would mobilize H2O. From the perspective of one year after the encounter, our appreciation of the extent of Pluto's diversity and complexity is quite reminiscent of the

  15. Landscapes of Mars A Visual Tour

    CERN Document Server

    Vogt, Gregory L

    2008-01-01

    Landscapes of Mars is essentially a picture book that provides a visual tour of Mars. All the major regions and topographical features will be shown and supplemented with chapter introductions and extended captions. In a way, think of it as a visual tourist guide. Other topics covered are Martian uplands on the order of the elevation of Mt. Everest, Giant volcanoes and a rift system, the Grand Canyon of Mars, craters and the absence of craters over large regions (erosion), and wind shadows around craters, sand dunes, and dust devils. The book includes discussions on the search for water (braided channels, seepage, sedimentary layering, etc.) as well as on the Viking mission search for life, Mars meteorite fossil bacteria controversy, and planetary protection in future missions. The book concludes with an exciting gallery of the best 3D images of Mars making the book a perfect tool for understanding Mars and its place in the solar system.

  16. Creation of High Resolution Terrain Models of Barringer Meteorite Crater (Meteor Crater) Using Photogrammetry and Terrestrial Laser Scanning Methods

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brown, Richard B.; Navard, Andrew R.; Holland, Donald E.; McKellip, Rodney D.; Brannon, David P.

    2010-01-01

    Barringer Meteorite Crater or Meteor Crater, AZ, has been a site of high interest for lunar and Mars analog crater and terrain studies since the early days of the Apollo-Saturn program. It continues to be a site of exceptional interest to lunar, Mars, and other planetary crater and impact analog studies because of its relatively young age (est. 50 thousand years) and well-preserved structure. High resolution (2 meter to 1 decimeter) digital terrain models of Meteor Crater in whole or in part were created at NASA Stennis Space Center to support several lunar surface analog modeling activities using photogrammetric and ground based laser scanning techniques. The dataset created by this activity provides new and highly accurate 3D models of the inside slope of the crater as well as the downslope rock distribution of the western ejecta field. The data are presented to the science community for possible use in furthering studies of Meteor Crater and impact craters in general as well as its current near term lunar exploration use in providing a beneficial test model for lunar surface analog modeling and surface operation studies.

  17. Crater ejecta scaling laws: fundamental forms based on dimensional analysis

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Housen, K.R.; Schmidt, R.M.; Holsapple, K.A.

    1983-01-01

    A model of crater ejecta is constructed using dimensional analysis and a recently developed theory of energy and momentum coupling in cratering events. General relations are derived that provide a rationale for scaling laboratory measurements of ejecta to larger events. Specific expressions are presented for ejection velocities and ejecta blanket profiles in two limiting regimes of crater formation: the so-called gravity and strength regimes. In the gravity regime, ejectra velocities at geometrically similar launch points within craters vary as the square root of the product of crater radius and gravity. This relation implies geometric similarity of ejecta blankets. That is, the thickness of an ejecta blanket as a function of distance from the crater center is the same for all sizes of craters if the thickness and range are expressed in terms of crater radii. In the strength regime, ejecta velocities are independent of crater size. Consequently, ejecta blankets are not geometrically similar in this regime. For points away from the crater rim the expressions for ejecta velocities and thickness take the form of power laws. The exponents in these power laws are functions of an exponent, α, that appears in crater radius scaling relations. Thus experimental studies of the dependence of crater radius on impact conditions determine scaling relations for ejecta. Predicted ejection velocities and ejecta-blanket profiles, based on measured values of α, are compared to existing measurements of velocities and debris profiles

  18. Impact craters on Titan

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wood, Charles A.; Lorenz, Ralph; Kirk, Randy; Lopes, Rosaly; Mitchell, Karl; Stofan, Ellen; ,

    2010-01-01

    Five certain impact craters and 44 additional nearly certain and probable ones have been identified on the 22% of Titan's surface imaged by Cassini's high-resolution radar through December 2007. The certain craters have morphologies similar to impact craters on rocky planets, as well as two with radar bright, jagged rims. The less certain craters often appear to be eroded versions of the certain ones. Titan's craters are modified by a variety of processes including fluvial erosion, mass wasting, burial by dunes and submergence in seas, but there is no compelling evidence of isostatic adjustments as on other icy moons, nor draping by thick atmospheric deposits. The paucity of craters implies that Titan's surface is quite young, but the modeled age depends on which published crater production rate is assumed. Using the model of Artemieva and Lunine (2005) suggests that craters with diameters smaller than about 35 km are younger than 200 million years old, and larger craters are older. Craters are not distributed uniformly; Xanadu has a crater density 2-9 times greater than the rest of Titan, and the density on equatorial dune areas is much lower than average. There is a small excess of craters on the leading hemisphere, and craters are deficient in the north polar region compared to the rest of the world. The youthful age of Titan overall, and the various erosional states of its likely impact craters, demonstrate that dynamic processes have destroyed most of the early history of the moon, and that multiple processes continue to strongly modify its surface. The existence of 24 possible impact craters with diameters less than 20 km appears consistent with the Ivanov, Basilevsky and Neukum (1997) model of the effectiveness of Titan's atmosphere in destroying most but not all small projectiles.

  19. Formation of Box Canyon, Idaho, by megaflood: implications for seepage erosion on Earth and Mars.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lamb, Michael P; Dietrich, William E; Aciego, Sarah M; Depaolo, Donald J; Manga, Michael

    2008-05-23

    Amphitheater-headed canyons have been used as diagnostic indicators of erosion by groundwater seepage, which has important implications for landscape evolution on Earth and astrobiology on Mars. Of perhaps any canyon studied, Box Canyon, Idaho, most strongly meets the proposed morphologic criteria for groundwater sapping because it is incised into a basaltic plain with no drainage network upstream, and approximately 10 cubic meters per second of seepage emanates from its vertical headwall. However, sediment transport constraints, 4He and 14C dates, plunge pools, and scoured rock indicate that a megaflood (greater than 220 cubic meters per second) carved the canyon about 45,000 years ago. These results add to a growing recognition of Quaternary catastrophic flooding in the American northwest, and may imply that similar features on Mars also formed by floods rather than seepage erosion.

  20. Multiple Episodes of Recent Gully Activity Indicated by Gully Fan Stratigraphy in Eastern Promethei Terra, Mars.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schon, S.; Head, J.; Fassett, C.

    2008-09-01

    Introduction Gullies are considered among the youngest geomorphic features on Mars based upon their stratigraphic relationships, superposition on steep slopes and distinctive morphology in unconsolidated sediment. Multiple formation hypotheses have been proposed, which can be divided into three broad classes: entirely dry mechanisms (e.g., [1,2]), wet mechanisms invoking groundwater or ground ice (e.g., [3,4]) and wet mechanisms invoking surficial meltwater (e.g., [5,6,7,8]). It has been difficult to differentiate between these hypotheses based upon past observations and it remains possible that gullies are polygenetic landforms. This study presents stratigraphic relationships in the depositional fan of a crater wall gully system that suggest: (1) multiple episodes of alluvial fan-style deposition, (2) very recent depositional activity that is younger than a newly recognized rayed crater, and (3) surficial snowmelt as the most likely source of these multiple episodes of recent gully activity. Gully-Fan Stratigraphy In Eastern Promethei Terra an ~5 km-diameter crater is observed with a well-developed gully system (Fig. 1) and several smaller gullies in its northnortheast wall. The large gully system (composed of a small western gully and larger eastern gully) shows evidence for incision into the crater wall country rock and has multiple contributory sub-alcoves and channels. The depositional fan associated with this gully system is bounded on its western side by a small arcuate ridge swell that is not observed on the eastern side of the fan. This ridge is interpreted as a moraine-like structure that may have bounded a glacially-formed depression into which the fan is deposited [8]. Similar depressions with bounding ridges are commonly observed in this latitude band (~30-50°S) in association with deeply incised gully alcoves [9,10,11]. This gully fan is composed of multiple lobes with distinct lobe contacts, incised channels, and cut-andfill deposits - all features

  1. Formation of a hybrid-type proto-atmosphere on Mars accreting in the solar nebula

    Science.gov (United States)

    Saito, Hiroaki; Kuramoto, Kiyoshi

    2018-03-01

    Recent studies of the chronology of Martian meteorites suggest that the growth of Mars was almost complete within a few Myr after the birth of the Solar system. During such rapid accretion, proto-Mars likely gravitationally maintained both the solar nebula component and the impact degassing component, containing H2O vapour and reduced gas species, as a proto-atmosphere to be called a hybrid-type proto-atmosphere. Here we numerically analyse the mass and composition of the degassed component and the atmospheric thermal structure sustained by accretional heating. Our results predict that a growing Mars possibly acquired a massive and hot hybrid-type proto-atmosphere with surface pressure and temperature greater than several kbar and 2000 K, respectively, which is sufficient to produce a deep magma ocean. In such a high-temperature and high-pressure environment, a significant amount of H2O, CH4, CO, and H2 is expected to be partitioned into the planetary interior, although this would strongly depend on the dynamics of the magma ocean and mantle solidification. The dissolved H2O may explain the wet Martian mantle implied from basaltic Martian meteorites. Along with the remnant reduced atmosphere after the hydrodynamic atmospheric escape, dissolved reduced gas species may have maintained an earliest Martian surface environment that allowed prebiotic chemical evolution and liquid H2O activities.

  2. Distribution of megablocks in the Ries crater, Germany: Remote sensing and field analysis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sturm, Sebastian; Willmes, Malte; Hiesinger, Harald; Kenkmann, Thomas; Pösges, Gisela

    2010-05-01

    The Ries impact structure, located in Bavaria, southern Germany, has a diameter of 26 km. It is one of the best studied impact craters on the Earth and it is used as an archetype for complex craters across the solar system [e.g. 1, 2]. However its geologic structure still poses questions regarding crater formation mechanics and about the distribution of distinct morphologic units. Especially the hummocky terrain of the megablock zone, which is located between the so-called inner crystalline ring and outer rim of the crater, is not well understood [2]. On the one hand it consists of excavated allochthonous blocks of brecciated crystalline and sedimentary rocks that are embedded in Bunte Breccia (a polymict lithic breccia), on the other hand it is built up of sedimentary blocks that slumped into the crater cavity during crater collapse [2, 3]. Thus the megablock zone gives unique insights into processes of target damaging, fragmentation and excavation and interaction with collapse-induced slumping. Published geologic maps merely display megablocks that are exposed at the surface [4]. A preliminary analysis of the area utilizing Google Earth imagery (average resolution of 1m/pxl) additionally show abundant megablocks in the near subsurface covered by soil that were not yet recorded until now. They are clearly visible in fields with sparse or no vegetation and show a structure and morphology similar to megablock outcrops at the surface. The megablocks could not be observed in fields with dense vegetation and residential areas. Visibility of megablocks in the fields is likely due to differences in humidity in the top soil caused by the different underlying megablock material. Using a 1-3 m shallow drilling device (Pürckhauer) we were able to prove the existence of several megablock structures that are clearly visible in remote sensing images. Their top was reached at a depth of around 2-3 m. A field campaign using a percussion piston corer in combination with the

  3. Compositional Models of Hematite-Rich Spherules (Blueberries) at Meridiani Planum, Mars and Constraints on Their Formation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schneider, A.; Mittlefehldt, D.

    2006-10-01

    The Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity discovered hematite-rich spherules (``blueberries'') believed to be diagenetic concretions formed in the bedrock in stagnant or slow-moving groundwater. These spherules likely precipitated from solution, but their origins are poorly understood. Three formation mechanisms are possible: inclusive, replacive and displacive. The first would result in a distinct spherule composition compared to the other two. We propose that chemical clues may help to constrain the nature of blueberry formation. We used Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer data for undisturbed soils that were blueberry-free and with visible blueberries at the surface in Microscopic Imager images. We made plots of the elements versus iron for the spherule-rich soils and compared them to a mixing line representative of a pure hematite end member spherule (called ``the zero model''). This modeled the replacive formation mechanism, in which pure hematite would replace all of the original material. If the spherules grew inclusively, chemical data should reflect a compositional component of the rock grains included during formation. Four models were developed to test for possible compositions of a rock component. These models could not easily explain the APXS data and thus demonstrate that the most plausible rock compositions are not components of blueberries.

  4. Pancam Peek into 'Victoria Crater' (Stereo)

    Science.gov (United States)

    2006-01-01

    [figure removed for brevity, see original site] Left-eye view of a stereo pair for PIA08776 [figure removed for brevity, see original site] Right-eye view of a stereo pair for PIA08776 A drive of about 60 meters (about 200 feet) on the 943rd Martian day, or sol, of Opportunity's exploration of Mars' Meridiani Planum region (Sept. 18, 2006) brought the NASA rover to within about 50 meters (about 160 feet) of the rim of 'Victoria Crater.' This crater has been the mission's long-term destination for the past 21 Earth months. Opportunity reached a location from which the cameras on top of the rover's mast could begin to see into the interior of Victoria. This stereo anaglyph was made from frames taken on sol 943 by the panoramic camera (Pancam) to offer a three-dimensional view when seen through red-blue glasses. It shows the upper portion of interior crater walls facing toward Opportunity from up to about 850 meters (half a mile) away. The amount of vertical relief visible at the top of the interior walls from this angle is about 15 meters (about 50 feet). The exposures were taken through a Pancam filter selecting wavelengths centered on 750 nanometers. Victoria Crater is about five times wider than 'Endurance Crater,' which Opportunity spent six months examining in 2004, and about 40 times wider than 'Eagle Crater,' where Opportunity first landed. The great lure of Victoria is the expectation that a thick stack of geological layers will be exposed in the crater walls, potentially several times the thickness that was previously studied at Endurance and therefore, potentially preserving several times the historical record.

  5. The Origin of the Terra Meridiani Sediments: Volatile Transport and the Formation of Sulfate Bearing Layered Deposits on Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Niles, P.B.

    2008-01-01

    formation process which must have acted over a large area of Mars. The results of this study suggest a mechanism for volatile transport on Mars without invoking an early greenhouse. They also imply a common formation mechanism for most of the sulfate minerals and layered deposits on Mars, which explains their common occurrence.

  6. Hailar crater - A possible impact structure in Inner Mongolia, China

    Science.gov (United States)

    Xiao, Zhiyong; Chen, Zhaoxu; Pu, Jiang; Xiao, Xiao; Wang, Yichen; Huang, Jun

    2018-04-01

    Hailar crater, a probable impact structure, is a circular depression about 300 m diameter in Inner Mongolia, northeast China. With broad elevated rims, the present rim-to-floor depth is 8-20 m. Regional geological background and geomorphological comparison suggest that this feature is likely not formed by surface processes such as salt diapir, karst, aeolian, glacial, or volcanic activity. Its unique occurrence in this region and well-preserved morphology are most consistent with it being a Cenozoic impact crater. Two field expeditions in 2016 and 2017 investigated the origin of this structure, recognizing that (1) no additional craters were identified around Hailar crater in the centimeter-scale digital topography models that were constructed using a drone imaging system and stereo photogrammetry; (2) no bedrock exposures are visible within or adjacent to the crater because of thick regolith coverage, and only small pieces of angular unconsolidated rocks are present on the crater wall and the gently-sloped crater rim, suggesting recent energetic formation of the crater; (3) most samples collected from the crater have identical lithology and petrographic characteristics with the background terrain, but some crater samples contain more abundant clasts and silicate hydrothermal veins, indicating that rocks from depths have been exposed by the crater; (4) no shock metamorphic features were found in the samples after thin section examinations; and (5) a systematic sample survey and iron detector scan within and outside of the crater found no iron-rich meteorites larger than 2 cm in size in a depth of 30 cm. Although no conclusive evidence for an impact origin is found yet, Hailar crater was most likely formed by an impact based on its unique occurrence and comparative geomorphologic study. We suggest that drilling in the crater center is required to verify the impact origin, where hypothesized melt-bearing impactites may be encountered.

  7. New Geologic Map of the Argyre Region of Mars: Deciphering the Geologic History Through Mars Global Surveyor, Mars Odyssey, and Mars Express Data

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dohm, J. M.; Banks, M.; Buczkowski, D.

    2010-01-01

    The primary objective of the mapping effort is to produce a geologic map of the Argyre basin and surrounding region at 1:5,000,000 scale in both digital and print formats that will detail the stratigraphic and crosscutting relations among rock materials and landforms (30 deg. S to 65 deg. S, 290 deg. E to 340 deg E). There has not been a detailed geologic map produced of the Argyre region since the Viking-era mapping investigation. The mapping tasks include stratigraphic mapping, crater counting, feature mapping, quantitative landform analysis, and spectroscopic/ stratigraphic investigation feature mapping. The regional geologic mapping investigation includes the Argyre basin floor and rim materials, the transition zone that straddles the Thaumasia plateau, which includes Argyre impact