Hypotheses for the origin of fine-grained sedimentary rocks at Santa Maria crater, Meridiani Planum

Lauren A. Edgar, John P. Grotzinger, James Bell, Joel A. Hurowitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

En route to Endeavour crater, the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity embarked on a short but significant campaign at Santa Maria crater during sols 2450-2551. Santa Maria crater is a relatively young impact crater, approximately 100. m in diameter and 11-17. m deep. Opportunity performed detailed analyses on several ejecta blocks and completed an extensive imaging campaign around the crater. Many of the ejecta blocks are composed of sandstone with abundant wind ripple laminations suggestive of eolian deposition. However, other ejecta blocks are massive, fine-grained, and exhibit a nodular texture. These rocks are interpreted to be the first rocks of a grain size smaller than the Microscopic Imager can resolve, and may represent the first mudstones observed by the rover. Several depositional environments are considered for the origin of the fine-grained rocks, and the observations are best fit by a transient evaporitic lake. If the inferred mudstones were deposited in a lacustrine setting, then surface water may have been present in a broader range of surface environments than previously documented at Meridiani Planum.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)36-44
Number of pages9
JournalIcarus
Volume234
DOIs
StatePublished - May 15 2014

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maria
sedimentary rocks
craters
crater
sedimentary rock
ejecta
rocks
mudstone
rock
Mars exploration
lamination
ripple
sandstones
surface water
ripples
lakes
depositional environment
laminates
Mars
grain size

Keywords

  • Mars, atmosphere
  • Mars, climate
  • Mars, surface

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics

Cite this

Hypotheses for the origin of fine-grained sedimentary rocks at Santa Maria crater, Meridiani Planum. / Edgar, Lauren A.; Grotzinger, John P.; Bell, James; Hurowitz, Joel A.

In: Icarus, Vol. 234, 15.05.2014, p. 36-44.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Edgar, Lauren A. ; Grotzinger, John P. ; Bell, James ; Hurowitz, Joel A. / Hypotheses for the origin of fine-grained sedimentary rocks at Santa Maria crater, Meridiani Planum. In: Icarus. 2014 ; Vol. 234. pp. 36-44.
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