In Situ Analysis of Opal in Gale Crater, Mars

W. Rapin, B. Chauviré, T. S.J. Gabriel, A. C. McAdam, B. L. Ehlmann, Craig Hardgrove, P. Y. Meslin, B. Rondeau, E. Dehouck, H. B. Franz, N. Mangold, S. J. Chipera, R. C. Wiens, J. Frydenvang, S. Schröder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Silica enrichments resulting in up to ~90 wt% SiO2 have been observed by the Curiosity rover's instruments in Gale crater, Mars, within the Murray and Stimson formations. Samples acquired by the rover drill revealed a significant abundance of an X-ray amorphous silica phase. Laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) highlights an overall correlation of the hydrogen signal with silica content for these Si-enriched targets. The increased hydration of the high-silica rocks compared to the surrounding bedrock is also confirmed by active neutron spectroscopy. Laboratory LIBS experiments have been performed to calibrate the hydrogen signal and show that the correlation observed on Mars is consistent with a silica phase containing on average 6.3 ± 1.4 wt% water. X-ray diffraction and LIBS measurements indicate that opal-A, amorphous hydrated silica, is the most likely phase containing this water in the rocks. Pyrolysis experiments were also performed on drilled samples by the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument to measure volatile content, but the data suggests that most of the water was released during handling prior to pyrolysis. The inferred low-temperature release of water helps constrain the nature of the opal. Given the geological context and the spatial association with other phases such as calcium sulfates, the opal was likely formed from multiple diagenetic fluid events and possibly represents the latest significant water-rock interaction in these sedimentary rocks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Planets
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018

Fingerprint

Mars craters
opal
Silicon Dioxide
silica
crater
Mars
silicon dioxide
Laser induced breakdown spectroscopy
laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy
spectroscopy
Water
water
laser
rocks
Rocks
pyrolysis
mars
hydrogen
Hydrogen
Pyrolysis

Keywords

  • Gale crater
  • hydrogen
  • Mars
  • MSL
  • opal
  • water

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

Cite this

Rapin, W., Chauviré, B., Gabriel, T. S. J., McAdam, A. C., Ehlmann, B. L., Hardgrove, C., ... Schröder, S. (Accepted/In press). In Situ Analysis of Opal in Gale Crater, Mars. Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets. https://doi.org/10.1029/2017JE005483

In Situ Analysis of Opal in Gale Crater, Mars. / Rapin, W.; Chauviré, B.; Gabriel, T. S.J.; McAdam, A. C.; Ehlmann, B. L.; Hardgrove, Craig; Meslin, P. Y.; Rondeau, B.; Dehouck, E.; Franz, H. B.; Mangold, N.; Chipera, S. J.; Wiens, R. C.; Frydenvang, J.; Schröder, S.

In: Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, 01.01.2018.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Rapin, W, Chauviré, B, Gabriel, TSJ, McAdam, AC, Ehlmann, BL, Hardgrove, C, Meslin, PY, Rondeau, B, Dehouck, E, Franz, HB, Mangold, N, Chipera, SJ, Wiens, RC, Frydenvang, J & Schröder, S 2018, 'In Situ Analysis of Opal in Gale Crater, Mars', Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets. https://doi.org/10.1029/2017JE005483
Rapin, W. ; Chauviré, B. ; Gabriel, T. S.J. ; McAdam, A. C. ; Ehlmann, B. L. ; Hardgrove, Craig ; Meslin, P. Y. ; Rondeau, B. ; Dehouck, E. ; Franz, H. B. ; Mangold, N. ; Chipera, S. J. ; Wiens, R. C. ; Frydenvang, J. ; Schröder, S. / In Situ Analysis of Opal in Gale Crater, Mars. In: Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets. 2018.
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