Calcium sulfate veins characterized by ChemCam/Curiosity at Gale crater, Mars

M. Nachon, S. M. Clegg, N. Mangold, S. Schröder, L. C. Kah, G. Dromart, A. Ollila, J. R. Johnson, D. Z. Oehler, J. C. Bridges, S. Le Mouélic, O. Forni, R. C. Wiens, R. B. Anderson, D. L. Blaney, James Bell, B. Clark, A. Cousin, M. D. Dyar, B. EhlmannC. Fabre, O. Gasnault, J. Grotzinger, J. Lasue, E. Lewin, R. Léveillé, S. McLennan, S. Maurice, P. Y. Meslin, W. Rapin, M. Rice, S. W. Squyres, K. Stack, D. Y. Sumner, D. Vaniman, D. Wellington

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

138 Scopus citations

Abstract

The Curiosity rover has analyzed abundant light-toned fracture-fill material within the Yellowknife Bay sedimentary deposits. The ChemCam instrument, coupled with Mastcam and ChemCam/Remote Micro Imager images, was able to demonstrate that these fracture fills consist of calcium sulfate veins, many of which appear to be hydrated at a level expected for gypsum and bassanite. Anhydrite is locally present and is found in a location characterized by a nodular texture. An intricate assemblage of veins crosses the sediments, which were likely formed by precipitation from fluids circulating through fractures. The presence of veins throughout the entire ~5 m thick Yellowknife Bay sediments suggests that this process occurred well after sedimentation and cementation/lithification of those sediments. The sulfur-rich fluids may have originated in previously precipitated sulfate-rich layers, either before the deposition of the Sheepbed mudstones or from unrelated units such as the sulfates at the base of Mount Sharp. The occurrence of these veins after the episodes of deposition of fluvial sediments at the surface suggests persistent aqueous activity in relatively nonacidic conditions. Key Points Calcium sulfate is detected by ChemCam in veins crossing fine-grained sedimentsVeins cross various sediments as a result of postdepositional diagenesisCalcium sulfate veins formed through prolonged subsurface fluid circulation

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1991-2016
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research E: Planets
Volume119
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2014

Keywords

  • ChemCam
  • Curiosity
  • LIBS
  • Mars
  • alteration
  • sulfates

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Forestry
  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Palaeontology

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