A Caltech Library Service

Mineralogy of Vera Rubin Ridge from the Mars Science Laboratory CheMin Instrument

Rampe, E. B. and Bristow, T. F. and Morris, R. V. and Morrison, S. M. and Achilles, C. N. and Ming, D. W. and Vaniman, D. T. and Blake, D. F. and Tu, V. M. and Chipera, S. J. and Yen, A. S. and Peretyazhko, T. S. and Downs, R. T. and Hazen, R. M. and Treiman, A. H. and Grotzinger, J. P. and Castle, N. and Craig, P. I. and Des Marais, D. J. and Thorpe, M. T. and Walroth, R. C. and Downs, G. W. and Fraeman, A. A. and Siebach, K. L. and Gellert, R. and Lafuente, B. and McAdam, A. C. and Meslin, P.‐Y. and Sutter, B. and Salvatore, M. R. (2020) Mineralogy of Vera Rubin Ridge from the Mars Science Laboratory CheMin Instrument. Journal of Geophysical Research. Planets, 125 (9). Art.o. e2019JE006306. ISSN 2169-9097. doi:10.1029/2019je006306.

[img] PDF - Published Version
Creative Commons Attribution.

[img] MS Word - Supplemental Material
Creative Commons Attribution.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


Vera Rubin ridge (VRR) is an erosion‐resistant feature on the northwestern slope of Mount Sharp in Gale crater, Mars, and orbital visible/shortwave infrared measurements indicate it contains red hematite. The Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover performed an extensive campaign on VRR to study its mineralogy, geochemistry, and sedimentology to determine the depositional and diagenetic history of the ridge and constrain the processes by which the hematite could have formed. X‐ray diffraction (XRD) data from the CheMin instrument of four samples drilled on and below VRR demonstrate differences in iron, phyllosilicate, and sulfate mineralogy and hematite grain size. Hematite is common across the ridge, and its detection in a gray outcrop suggest localized regions with coarse‐grained hematite, which commonly forms from warm fluids. Broad XRD peaks for hematite in one sample below VRR and the abundance of FeOT in the amorphous component suggest the presence of nanocrystalline hematite and amorphous Fe oxides/oxyhydroxides. Well crystalline akaganeite and jarosite are present in two samples drilled from VRR, indicating at least limited alteration by acid‐saline fluids. Collapsed nontronite is present below VRR, but samples from VRR contain phyllosilicate with d(001) = 9.6 Å, possibly from ferripyrophyllite or an acid‐altered smectite. The most likely cementing agents creating the ridge are hematite and opaline silica. We hypothesize late diagenesis can explain much of the mineralogical variation on the ridge, where multiple fluid episodes with variable pH, salinity, and temperature altered the rocks, causing the precipitation and crystallization of phases that are not otherwise in equilibrium.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription ItemDuluth 1D diffraction pattern rdr-v1/mslcmn_1xxx/data/rdr4/cmb_587626717rda21420721316ch00111p1.csvRelated ItemStoer 1D diffraction pattern ItemHighfield 1D diffraction pattern ItemRock Hall 1D diffraction pattern of the first four minor frames ItemRock Hall 1D diffraction pattern from the last two nights ItemDuluth data ItemStoer data ItemHighfield data ItemRock Hall data
Rampe, E. B.0000-0002-6999-0028
Bristow, T. F.0000-0001-6725-0555
Morris, R. V.0000-0003-1413-4002
Morrison, S. M.0000-0002-1712-8057
Achilles, C. N.0000-0001-9185-6768
Ming, D. W.0000-0003-0567-8876
Vaniman, D. T.0000-0001-7661-2626
Yen, A. S.0000-0003-2410-0412
Peretyazhko, T. S.0000-0001-5533-6490
Hazen, R. M.0000-0003-4163-8644
Treiman, A. H.0000-0002-8073-2839
Grotzinger, J. P.0000-0001-9324-1257
Castle, N.0000-0002-0608-1249
Craig, P. I.0000-0003-4080-4997
Des Marais, D. J.0000-0002-6827-5831
Walroth, R. C.0000-0002-5174-6297
Fraeman, A. A.0000-0003-4017-5158
Siebach, K. L.0000-0002-6628-6297
Gellert, R.0000-0001-7928-834X
McAdam, A. C.0000-0001-9120-2991
Meslin, P.‐Y.0000-0002-0703-3951
Sutter, B.0000-0002-3036-170X
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: 24 September 2020; Version of Record online: 24 September 2020; Accepted manuscript online: 24 June 2020; Manuscript accepted: 28 April 2020; Manuscript revised: 27 April 2020; Manuscript received: 03 December 2019. We gratefully acknowledge the MSL engineering, management, and tactical and strategic operations teams who facilitated data collection during the VRR campaign. Reviews by J. Bridges, K. Cannon, N. Mangold, S. VanBommel, and two anonymous reviewers greatly improved the manuscript. The CheMin ODR provides diffraction data, fluorescence data, grain motion data, crystallographic information files used in the Rietveld refinements, descriptions of the analysis, and mineral abundances for all drill samples. A portion of this research was carried out at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Data Availability Statement: CheMin XRD data presented in this paper are archived in the Planetary Data System (PDS) and the CheMin Open Data Repository (ODR). Within the PDS, the Duluth 1‐D diffraction pattern can be found online (at, the Stoer 1‐D diffraction pattern can be found online (at, the Highfield 1‐D diffraction pattern can be found online (at, the Rock Hall 1‐D diffraction pattern of the first four minor frames can be found online (at, and the Rock Hall 1‐D diffraction pattern from the last two nights of analysis when grain motion was poor can be found online (at Within the ODR, Duluth data can be found online (at, Stoer data can be found online (at, Highfield data can be found online (at, and Rock Hall data can be found online (at
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Subject Keywords:Mars; CheMin; X‐ray diffraction; Gale crater; aqueous alteration
Issue or Number:9
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20200821-074343210
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Rampe, E. B., Bristow, T. F., Morris, R. V., Morrison, S. M., Achilles, C. N., Ming, D. W., et al. (2020). Mineralogy of Vera Rubin ridge from the Mars Science Laboratory CheMin instrument. Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, 125, e2019JE006306.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:105052
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:21 Aug 2020 16:06
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 18:39

Repository Staff Only: item control page