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Perseverance rover reveals an ancient delta-lake system and flood deposits at Jezero crater, Mars

Mangold, N. and Gupta, S. and Gasnault, O. and Dromart, G. and Tarnas, J. D. and Sholes, S. F. and Horgan, B. and Quantin-Nataf, C. and Brown, A. J. and Le Mouélic, S. and Yingst, R. A. and Bell, J. F. and Beyssac, O. and Bosak, T. and Calef, F., III and Ehlmann, B. L. and Farley, K. A. and Grotzinger, J. P. and Hickman-Lewis, K. and Holm-Alwmark, S. and Kah, L. C. and Martínez-Frías, J. and McLennan, S. M. and Maurice, S. and Nuñez, J. I. and Ollila, A. M. and Pilleri, P. and Rice, J. W., Jr. and Rice, M. and Simon, J. I. and Shuster, D. L. and Stack, K. M. and Sun, V. Z. and Treiman, A. H. and Weiss, B. P. and Wiens, R. C. and Williams, A. J. and Williams, N. R. and Williford, K. H. (2021) Perseverance rover reveals an ancient delta-lake system and flood deposits at Jezero crater, Mars. Science, 374 (6568). pp. 711-717. ISSN 0036-8075. doi:10.1126/science.abl4051.

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Observations from orbital spacecraft have shown that Jezero crater on Mars contains a prominent fan-shaped body of sedimentary rock deposited at its western margin. The Perseverance rover landed in Jezero crater in February 2021. We analyze images taken by the rover in the 3 months after landing. The fan has outcrop faces, which were invisible from orbit, that record the hydrological evolution of Jezero crater. We interpret the presence of inclined strata in these outcrops as evidence of deltas that advanced into a lake. In contrast, the uppermost fan strata are composed of boulder conglomerates, which imply deposition by episodic high-energy floods. This sedimentary succession indicates a transition from sustained hydrologic activity in a persistent lake environment to highly energetic short-duration fluvial flows.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription ItemData ItemData ItemData ItemData ItemData ItemData ItemData ItemData InNature : Research Highlight
Mangold, N.0000-0002-0022-0631
Gupta, S.0000-0001-6415-1332
Gasnault, O.0000-0002-6979-9012
Tarnas, J. D.0000-0002-6256-0826
Sholes, S. F.0000-0003-4854-1191
Horgan, B.0000-0001-6314-9724
Brown, A. J.0000-0002-9352-6989
Le Mouélic, S.0000-0001-5260-1367
Yingst, R. A.0000-0002-0628-4265
Bell, J. F.0000-0002-2006-4074
Beyssac, O.0000-0001-8879-4762
Bosak, T.0000-0001-5179-5323
Calef, F., III0000-0002-5132-3980
Ehlmann, B. L.0000-0002-2745-3240
Farley, K. A.0000-0002-7846-7546
Grotzinger, J. P.0000-0001-9324-1257
Hickman-Lewis, K.0000-0001-8014-233X
Holm-Alwmark, S.0000-0002-0146-9324
Kah, L. C.0000-0001-7172-2033
Martínez-Frías, J.0000-0002-2609-4485
McLennan, S. M.0000-0003-4259-7178
Maurice, S.0000-0001-5702-8002
Nuñez, J. I.0000-0003-0930-6674
Ollila, A. M.0000-0003-0479-9465
Pilleri, P.0000-0003-4861-0476
Rice, M.0000-0002-8370-4139
Simon, J. I.0000-0002-3969-8958
Shuster, D. L.0000-0003-2507-9977
Stack, K. M.0000-0003-3444-6695
Sun, V. Z.0000-0003-1480-7369
Treiman, A. H.0000-0002-8073-2839
Weiss, B. P.0000-0003-3113-3415
Wiens, R. C.0000-0002-3409-7344
Williams, A. J.0000-0001-6299-0845
Williams, N. R.0000-0003-0602-484X
Williford, K. H.0000-0003-0633-408X
Additional Information:© 2021 American Association for the Advancement of Science. Received 12 July 2021; accepted 21 September 2021. Published online 7 October 2021. We acknowledge the Mars 2020 project’s management, engineering, and scientific teams for their diligent efforts in making this mission as effective as possible. We are grateful to Mars 2020 team members who participated in tactical and strategic science operations. We also thank the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) and CRISM instrument teams of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) for the use of HiRISE images, and the Observatoire pour la Minéralogie, l’Eau, les Glaces et l’Activité (OMEGA) instrument team of the Mars Express mission for the use of OMEGA data. N.M., O.G., G.D., C.Q.-N., S.L.M., P.P., and S.M. acknowledge the Centre National de Recherches Scientifiques (CNRS) and the Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES) for the research infrastructures and collaborative networks enabling their participation to rover operations. The authors appreciated helpful suggestions from reviewers. Funding: Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales, France (N.M., O.G., G.D., C.Q.-N., S.L.M., P.P., S.M.); NASA Mars 2020 Project (J.D.T., S.F.S., B.H., J.F.B., K.A.F., K.H.W., K.M.S., R.C.W., B.L.E., S.M.M., R.A.Y., J.I.N.); NASA Planetary Science Division, Mars Program (J.I.S.); NASA M2020 Participating Scientist Program under Grant #80NSSC21K0332 (A.J.W.); NASA Mars 2020 Returned Sample Science Participating Scientist Program (RSSPS) award numbers 80NSSC20K0234 (T.B.) and 80NSSC20K0238 (B.P.W.); NASA Post-Doctoral program (JDT); UK Space Agency Aurora program (S.G.); UK Space Agency Aurora Research Fellowship (K.H.-L.); International Postdoc grant from the Swedish Research Council (grant no. 2017-06388) (S.H.-A.); Simons Foundation Collaboration on the Origins of Life, grant #327126 (T.B.). Author contributions: Conceptualization: N.M., S.G., and G.D. Methodology – data processing: O.G., P.P., S.L.M., J.F.B., J.I.N., M.R., A.M.O., B.H., C.Q.-N., J.D.T., R.A.Y., and L.C.K. Project administration: J.F.B., K.A.F., K.H.W., K.M.S., R.C.W., and S.M. Writing – original draft: N.M., S.G., G.D., A.J.B., B.H., B.W., J.F.B., O.G., and D.L.S. Writing – review & editing: N.M., S.G., O.G., G.D., J.D.T., S.F.S., B.H., R.A.Y., J.F.B., O.B., T.B., B.E., K.A.F., J.P.G., K.H.-L., S.H.-A., L.C.K., J.M.-F., S.M.L., J.I.N., J.W.R., M.R., J.I.S., D.L.S., K.M.S., V.Z.S., A.H.T., B.P.W., R.C.W., A.J.W., and K.H.W. Visualization: N.M., G.D., S.L.M., C.Q.-N., B.H., J.D.T., M.R., J.F.B., S.F.S., F.C., and N.R.W. The authors declare no competing interests. Data and materials availability: The data used in this paper are available on the Planetary Data System (PDS). Tables S1 and S2 give links to PDS web pages for the Perseverance rover SuperCam and Mastcam-Z instruments and list the image numbers used in Figs. 1 to 4 and figs. S2 to S4, S6, S7, and S12. Data from the OMEGA instrument on Mars Express, used in fig. S11, are available at in the “gem04” and “gem22” directories. Data from the HiRISE instrument on MRO, used in Fig. 1 and figs. S1 and S9 to S11, are available at,,, and The CRISM data used for fig. S11 are available at The Context Camera image mosaic of Jezero used in Fig. 5 and fig. S1 is available at the United States Geological Survey The Entry, Descent, Landing (EDL) image used in fig. S5 is available at Our cobble size measurements, used to produce Fig. 3E and fig. S7, are provided in data S1.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Centre National d’Études Spatiales (CNES)UNSPECIFIED
NASA Postdoctoral ProgramUNSPECIFIED
United Kingdom Space Agency (UKSA)UNSPECIFIED
Swedish Research Council2017-06388
Simons Foundation327126
Issue or Number:6568
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20211008-143531053
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Perseverance rover reveals an ancient delta-lake system and flood deposits at Jezero crater, Mars. N. Mangold, S. Gupta, O. Gasnault, G. Dromart, J. D. Tarnas, S. F. Sholes, B. Horgan, C. Quantin-Nataf, A. J. Brown, S. Le Mouélic, R. A. Yingst, J. F. Bell, O. Beyssac, T. Bosak, F. Calef III, B. L. Ehlmann, K. A. Farley, J. P. Grotzinger, K. Hickman- Lewis, S. Holm-Alwmark, L. C. Kah, J. Martinez-Frias, S. M. McLennan, S. Maurice, J. I. Nuñez, A. M. Ollila, P. Pilleri, J. W. Rice Jr., M. Rice, J. I. Simon, D. L. Shuster, K. M. Stack, V. Z. Sun, A. H. Treiman, B. P. Weiss, R. C. Wiens, A. J. Williams, N. R. Williams, and K. H. Williford. Science, Science, 374 (6568); DOI: 10.1126/science.abl4051.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:111276
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:08 Oct 2021 15:34
Last Modified:11 Nov 2021 17:26

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