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Evidence for Multiple Diagenetic Episodes in Ancient Fluvial-Lacustrine Sedimentary Rocks in Gale Crater, Mars

Achilles, C. N. and Rampe, E. B. and Downs, R. T. and Bristow, T. F. and Ming, D. W. and Morris, R. V. and Vaniman, D. T. and Blake, D. F. and Yen, A. S. and McAdam, A. C. and Sutter, B. and Fedo, C. M. and Gwizd, S. and Thompson, L. M. and Gellert, R. and Morrison, S. M. and Treiman, A. H. and Crisp, J. A. and Gabriel, T. S. J. and Chipera, S. J. and Hazen, R. M. and Craig, P. I. and Thorpe, M. T. and Des Marais, D. J. and Grotzinger, J. P. and Tu, V. M. and Castle, N. and Downs, G. W. and Peretyazhko, T. S. and Walroth, R. C. and Sarrazin, P. and Morookian, J.-M. (2020) Evidence for Multiple Diagenetic Episodes in Ancient Fluvial-Lacustrine Sedimentary Rocks in Gale Crater, Mars. Journal of Geophysical Research. Planets, 125 (8). Art. No. e2019JE006295. ISSN 2169-9097. doi:10.1029/2019je006295.

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The Curiosity rover's exploration of rocks and soils in Gale crater has provided diverse geochemical and mineralogical data sets, underscoring the complex geological history of the region. We report the crystalline, clay mineral, and amorphous phase distributions of four Gale crater rocks from an 80‐m stratigraphic interval. The mineralogy of the four samples is strongly influenced by aqueous alteration processes, including variations in water chemistries, redox, pH, and temperature. Localized hydrothermal events are evidenced by gray hematite and maturation of amorphous SiO₂ to opal‐CT. Low‐temperature diagenetic events are associated with fluctuating lake levels, evaporative events, and groundwater infiltration. Among all mudstones analyzed in Gale crater, the diversity in diagenetic processes is primarily captured by the mineralogy and X‐ray amorphous chemistry of the drilled rocks. Variations indicate a transition from magnetite to hematite and an increase in matrix‐associated sulfates suggesting intensifying influence from oxic, diagenetic fluids upsection. Furthermore, diagenetic fluid pathways are shown to be strongly affected by unconformities and sedimentary transitions, as evidenced by the intensity of alteration inferred from the mineralogy of sediments sampled adjacent to stratigraphic contacts.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription ItemCheMin diffraction patterns and information ItemSAM EGA data and Tables ItemCheMin diffraction patterns, structure files, and analysis results
Achilles, C. N.0000-0001-9185-6768
Rampe, E. B.0000-0002-6999-0028
Downs, R. T.0000-0002-8380-7728
Bristow, T. F.0000-0001-6725-0555
Ming, D. W.0000-0003-0567-8876
Morris, R. V.0000-0003-1413-4002
Vaniman, D. T.0000-0001-7661-2626
Blake, D. F.0000-0002-0834-4487
Yen, A. S.0000-0003-2410-0412
McAdam, A. C.0000-0001-9120-2991
Sutter, B.0000-0002-3036-170X
Fedo, C. M.0000-0002-2626-1132
Gwizd, S.0000-0001-5818-9123
Thompson, L. M.0000-0002-5444-952X
Gellert, R.0000-0001-7928-834X
Morrison, S. M.0000-0002-1712-8057
Treiman, A. H.0000-0002-8073-2839
Crisp, J. A.0000-0002-3202-4416
Gabriel, T. S. J.0000-0002-9767-4153
Hazen, R. M.0000-0003-4163-8644
Craig, P. I.0000-0003-4080-4997
Thorpe, M. T.0000-0002-1235-9016
Des Marais, D. J.0000-0002-6827-5831
Grotzinger, J. P.0000-0001-9324-1257
Castle, N.0000-0002-0608-1249
Peretyazhko, T. S.0000-0001-5533-6490
Walroth, R. C.0000-0002-5174-6297
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: 13 August 2020; Version of Record online: 13 August 2020; Accepted manuscript online: 27 June 2020; Manuscript accepted: 22 June 2020; Manuscript revised: 17 June 2020; Manuscript received: 02 December 2019. The authors gratefully acknowledge the MSL engineering and operations teams for their support in data collection. The thoughtful reviews of John Spray and two anonymous reviewers greatly improved the manuscript. This research was supported by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Mars Science Laboratory Mission, by NASA Headquarters under the NASA Earth and Space Science Fellowship Program (Grant NNX16AL41H), and by an appointment to the NASA Postdoctoral Program at the Goddard Flight Space Center administered by USRA through a contract with NASA. An early version of this manuscript is published in the author's dissertation (Achilles, C. N., 2018). Analyses of crystalline and X‐ray amorphous materials in Gale crater rocks and soils). Some of this research was carried out at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with the NASA. Data Availability Statement: All data used in this manuscript are available at the NASA Planetary Data System Geosciences Node. CheMin diffraction patterns and information regarding the data products are located online (at SAM EGA data and data product descriptions are located online (at Additionally, CheMin diffraction patterns, SAM H2O and SO2 EGA data, Tables 1, 2, and S1–S3, are publicly available (at As a resource to the reader, CheMin diffraction patterns, structure files, and analysis results are also located on the Open Data Repository (at
Group:Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NASA Postdoctoral ProgramUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:mineralogy; diagenesis; Mars; XRD
Issue or Number:8
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20200820-151925942
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Achilles, C.N., Rampe, E.B., Downs, R.T., Bristow, T.F., Ming, D.W., Morris, R.V., Vaniman, D.T., Blake, D.F., Yen, A.S., McAdam, A.C., Sutter, B., Fedo, C.M., Gwizd, S., Thompson, L.M., Gellert, R., Morrison, S.M., Treiman, A.H., Crisp, J.A., Gabriel, T.S.J., Chipera, S.J., Hazen, R.M., Craig, P.I., Thorpe, M.T., Des Marais, D.J., Grotzinger, J.P., Tu, V.M., Castle, N., Downs, G.W., Peretyazhko, T.S., Walroth, R.C., Sarrazin, P. and Morookian, J.M. (2020), Evidence for Multiple Diagenetic Episodes in Ancient Fluvial‐Lacustrine Sedimentary Rocks in Gale Crater, Mars. J. Geophys. Res. Planets, 125: e2019JE006295. doi:10.1029/2019JE006295
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:105048
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:20 Aug 2020 23:43
Last Modified:01 Jun 2023 22:47

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