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Synergistic Ground and Orbital Observations of Iron Oxides on Mt. Sharp and Vera Rubin Ridge

Fraeman, A. A. and Johnson, J. R. and Arvidson, R. E. and Rice, M. S. and Wellington, D. F. and Morris, R. V. and Fox, V. K. and Horgan, B. H. N. and Jacob, S. R. and Salvatore, M. R. and Sun, V. Z. and Pinet, P. and Bell, J. F., III and Wiens, R. C. and Vasavada, A. R. (2020) Synergistic Ground and Orbital Observations of Iron Oxides on Mt. Sharp and Vera Rubin Ridge. Journal of Geophysical Research. Planets, 125 (9). Art. No. e2019JE006294. ISSN 2169-9097.

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Visible/short‐wave infrared spectral data from the Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM) show absorptions attributed to hematite at Vera Rubin ridge (VRR), a topographic feature on northwest Mt. Sharp. The goals of this study are to determine why absorptions caused by ferric iron are strongly visible from orbit at VRR and to improve interpretation of CRISM data throughout lower Mt. Sharp. These goals are achieved by analyzing coordinated CRISM and in situ spectral data along the Curiosity Mars rover's traverse. VRR bedrock within areas that have the deepest ferric absorptions in CRISM data also has the deepest ferric absorptions measured in situ. This suggests strong ferric absorptions are visible from orbit at VRR because of the unique spectral properties of VRR bedrock. Dust and mixing with basaltic sand additionally inhibit the ability to measure ferric absorptions in bedrock stratigraphically below VRR from orbit. There are two implications of these findings: (1) Ferric absorptions in CRISM data initially dismissed as noise could be real, and ferric phases are more widespread in lower Mt. Sharp than previously reported. (2) Patches with the deepest ferric absorptions in CRISM data are, like VRR, reflective of deeper absorptions in the bedrock. One model to explain this spectral variability is late‐stage diagenetic fluids that changed the grain size of ferric phases, deepening absorptions. Curiosity's experience highlights the strengths of using CRISM data for spectral absorptions and associated mineral detections and the caveats in using these data for geologic interpretations and strategic path planning tools.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Fraeman, A. A.0000-0003-4017-5158
Johnson, J. R.0000-0002-5586-4901
Arvidson, R. E.0000-0002-2854-0362
Rice, M. S.0000-0002-8370-4139
Wellington, D. F.0000-0002-2130-0075
Morris, R. V.0000-0003-1413-4002
Fox, V. K.0000-0002-0972-1192
Horgan, B. H. N.0000-0001-6314-9724
Jacob, S. R.0000-0001-9950-1486
Salvatore, M. R.0000-0002-1551-8342
Sun, V. Z.0000-0003-1480-7369
Pinet, P.0000-0002-1933-5631
Bell, J. F., III0000-0002-2006-4074
Wiens, R. C.0000-0002-3409-7344
Vasavada, A. R.0000-0003-2665-286X
Additional Information:© 2020 The Authors. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Issue Online: 23 September 2020; Version of Record online: 23 September 2020; Accepted manuscript online: 03 August 2020; Manuscript accepted: 23 July 2020; Manuscript revised: 21 July 2020; Manuscript received: 26 November 2019. We thank the MSL mission team for enabling the collection of a rich data set from the surface of Mars. A. A. F. thanks Elena Amador and David R. Thompson for their fruitful discussions that improved the figures and content of this manuscript. The authors thank two anonymous reviewers and D. Rogers for their thoughtful comments that greatly improved manuscript clarity. This research was carried out at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (80NM0018D004). A. A. F., J. R. J., M. S. R., B. H. H., and M. R. S. were funded through the Mars Science Laboratory Participating Scientist Program. P. P. was supported by the French Space Agency (CNES); his contribution has benefited from observations and/or results acquired with HRSC/OMEGA, and ChemCam instruments respectively embarked on Mars‐Express and Mars Science Laboratory missions. Data Availability Statement: All derived data products used to reproduce the results from this paper are available for downloading from the Zenodo open data repository (Fraeman, 2020).
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Centre National d'Études Spatiales (CNES)UNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:Mars; Spectroscopy; Hematite; Curiosity; CRISM
Issue or Number:9
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20200818-122820756
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Fraeman, A. A., Johnson, J. R., Arvidson, R. E., Rice, M. S., Wellington, D. F., & Morris, R. V., et al. (2020). Synergistic ground and orbital observations of iron oxides on Mt. Sharp and Vera Rubin ridge. Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, 125, e2019JE006294.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:104999
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:18 Aug 2020 21:21
Last Modified:23 Sep 2020 16:34

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