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The distribution of clay minerals and their impact on diagenesis in Glen Torridon, Gale crater, Mars

Rudolph, A. and Horgan, B. and Johnson, J and Bennett, K. and Haber, J. and Bell, J. F., III and Fox, V. and Jacob, S. and Maurice, S. and Rampe, E. and Rice, M. and Seeger, C. and Wiens, R. (2022) The distribution of clay minerals and their impact on diagenesis in Glen Torridon, Gale crater, Mars. Journal of Geophysical Research. Planets, 127 (10). ISSN 2169-9097. doi:10.1029/2021je007098.

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Glen Torridon (GT) is a recessive-trough feature on the northwestern slope of “Mt. Sharp” in Gale crater, Mars with the highest Fe-/Mg-phyllosilicates abundances detected by the Curiosity rover to date. Understanding the origin of these clay minerals and their relationship with diagenetic processes is critical for reconstructing the nature and habitability of past surface and subsurface environments in Gale crater. We aim to constrain the distribution and extent of diagenesis using compositional and morphological trends observed by visible-to-near infrared reflectance spectra in GT from Mastcam and ChemCam, supported by high-resolution images from the Mars Hand Lens Imager. Spectral features consistent with nontronite and fine-grained red hematite are ubiquitous throughout lower GT, and are strongest where diagenetic features are limited, suggesting that both were formed early, before burial. Diagenetic features increase in both abundance and diversity farther up-section, and we observe morphologic evidence for multiple episodes of diagenesis, with the edge of a diagenetic front partially preserved in the middle stratigraphic member, Knockfarril Hill. Near the contact between GT and the overlying Greenheugh pediment capping unit, we observe a lack of clay minerals with signatures consistent instead with coarse-grained gray hematite, likely formed through late-diagenetic alteration. We hypothesize that the sandstone-dominant Stimson formation acted as a conduit for diagenetic fluid flow into the area and that the clay-rich impermeable GT slowed the flow of those fluids, leading to enhanced alteration surrounding the clay-rich portions of GT, including within the nearby Vera Rubin ridge.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Information
Rudolph, A.0000-0003-2911-9032
Horgan, B.0000-0001-6314-9724
Bennett, K.0000-0001-8105-7129
Haber, J.0000-0003-0374-7575
Bell, J. F., III0000-0002-2006-4074
Fox, V.0000-0002-0972-1192
Jacob, S.0000-0001-9950-1486
Maurice, S.0000-0001-5702-8002
Rampe, E.0000-0002-6999-0028
Rice, M.0000-0002-8370-4139
Seeger, C.0000-0003-4993-9724
Wiens, R.0000-0002-3409-7344
Additional Information:© 2022 American Geophysical Union. Accepted manuscript online: 12 August 2022. Manuscript accepted: 12 May 2022. Manuscript revised: 14 March 2022. Manuscript received: 19 October 2021. We thank the MSL mission team for their hard (virtual) work whilst facing all the challenges that have come with the COVID-19 global pandemic and collecting the data that enabled this work. We also thank the U.S. Geological Survey Astrogeology Science Center reviewers for helpful comments and discussion, and Michael St. Clair and Million Concepts, LLC for Mastcam supplemental data information. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program under Grant No. DGE-1842166. Data Availability Statement. All Mastcam and MAHLI images used in this manuscript are on the Planetary Data System (PDS) Geosciences Node (Malin, 2013; Edgett, 2013), as well as the HiRISE data used in this manuscript (McEwen, 2007). All ChemCam spectra used in this manuscript are available through the PDS Geosciences node (Johnson & Ward, 2022). Derived Mastcam and ChemCam data used in this paper are available (Rudolph & Johnson, 2022).
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NSF Graduate Research FellowshipDGE-1842166
Subject Keywords:Mars; diagenesis; mineralogy; spectroscopy; clay minerals
Issue or Number:10
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20220815-504975000
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Rudolph, A., Horgan, B., Johnson, J., Bennett, K., Haber, J., Bell, J. F., et al. (2022). The distribution of clay minerals and their impact on diagenesis in Glen Torridon, Gale crater, Mars. Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, 127, e2021JE007098.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:116293
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:16 Aug 2022 14:11
Last Modified:14 Nov 2022 20:10

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