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Mars Science Laboratory CheMin Data From the Glen Torridon Region and the Significance of Lake-Groundwater Interactions in Interpreting Mineralogy and Sedimentary History

Thorpe, Michael T. and Bristow, Thomas F. and Rampe, Elizabeth B. and Tosca, Nicholas J. and Grotzinger, J. P. and Bennett, K. A. and Achilles, C. N. and Blake, D. F. and Chipera, S. J. and Downs, G. and Downs, R. T. and Morrison, S. M. and Tu, V. and Castle, N. and Craig, P. and Des Marais, D. J. and Hazen, R. M. and Ming, D. W. and Morris, R. V. and Treiman, A. H. and Vaniman, D. T. and Yen, A. S. and Vasavada, A. R. and Dehouck, E. and Bridges, J. C. and Berger, J. and McAdam, A. and Peretyazhko, T. and Siebach, K. L. and Bryk, A. B. and Fox, V. K. and Fedo, C. M. (2022) Mars Science Laboratory CheMin Data From the Glen Torridon Region and the Significance of Lake-Groundwater Interactions in Interpreting Mineralogy and Sedimentary History. Journal of Geophysical Research. Planets, 127 (11). Art. No. e2021JE007099. ISSN 2169-9097. doi:10.1029/2021je007099.

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The Glen Torridon (GT) region in Gale crater, Mars is a region with strong clay mineral signatures inferred from orbital spectroscopy. The CheMin X-ray diffraction (XRD) instrument onboard the Mars Science Laboratory rover, Curiosity, measured some of the highest clay mineral abundances to date within GT, complementing the orbital detections. GT may also be unique because in the XRD patterns of some samples, CheMin identified new phases, including: (a) Fe-carbonates, and (b) a phase with a novel peak at 9.2 Å. Fe-carbonates have been previously suggested from other instruments onboard, but this is the first definitive reporting by CheMin of Fe-carbonate. This new phase with a 9.2 Å reflection has never been observed in Gale crater and may be a new mineral for Mars, but discrete identification still remains enigmatic because no single phase on Earth is able to account for all of the GT mineralogical, geochemical, and sedimentological constraints. Here, we modeled XRD profiles and propose an interstratified clay mineral, specifically greenalite-minnesotaite, as a reasonable candidate. The coexistence of Fe-carbonate and Fe-rich clay minerals in the GT samples supports a conceptual model of a lacustrine groundwater mixing environment. Groundwater interaction with percolating lake waters in the sediments is common in terrestrial lacustrine settings, and the diffusion of two distinct water bodies within the subsurface can create a geochemical gradient and unique mineral front in the sediments. Ultimately, the proximity to this mixing zone may have controlled the secondary minerals preserved in sedimentary rocks exposed in GT.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Thorpe, Michael T.0000-0002-1235-9016
Bristow, Thomas F.0000-0001-6725-0555
Rampe, Elizabeth B.0000-0002-6999-0028
Tosca, Nicholas J.0000-0003-4415-4231
Grotzinger, J. P.0000-0001-9324-1257
Bennett, K. A.0000-0001-8105-7129
Achilles, C. N.0000-0001-9185-6768
Blake, D. F.0000-0002-0834-4487
Downs, G.0000-0003-3225-2651
Downs, R. T.0000-0002-8380-7728
Morrison, S. M.0000-0002-1712-8057
Tu, V.0000-0003-1976-9058
Castle, N.0000-0002-0608-1249
Craig, P.0000-0003-4080-4997
Des Marais, D. J.0000-0002-6827-5831
Hazen, R. M.0000-0003-4163-8644
Ming, D. W.0000-0003-0567-8876
Morris, R. V.0000-0003-1413-4002
Treiman, A. H.0000-0002-8073-2839
Vaniman, D. T.0000-0001-7661-2626
Yen, A. S.0000-0003-2410-0412
Vasavada, A. R.0000-0003-2665-286X
Dehouck, E.0000-0002-1368-4494
Bridges, J. C.0000-0002-9579-5779
McAdam, A.0000-0001-9120-2991
Peretyazhko, T.0000-0001-5533-6490
Siebach, K. L.0000-0002-6628-6297
Bryk, A. B.0000-0002-2013-7456
Fox, V. K.0000-0002-0972-1192
Fedo, C. M.0000-0002-2626-1132
Additional Information:© 2022 The Authors. This article has been contributed to by U.S. Government employees and their work is in the public domain in the USA. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made. The authors are grateful to Joseph Tamborksi, Ben Tutolo, Scott McLennan, Joel Hurowitz, Jen Eigenbrode, and Stuart Turner for fruitful discussions and knowledge on Earth environments, geochemical models, and sedimentary processes. Additionally, we are sincerely grateful for the amazing MSL science and engineering teams. The authors would like to thank Juan Carlos Corona and David Jenkins for providing XRD patterns for Fe-talc phases and for many helpful discussions on this unique phase. We also thank Robert Reynolds Jr. for helping with the NEWMOD software. We would like to note here though that the use of any software to construct models or refinements in this manuscript software does not imply government endorsement. Some of this research was carried out at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), California Institue of Technology, and under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Sapce Admistration (NASA). Lastly, we would like to acknowledge Rebecca Smith, Jesse Tarnas, and an anonymous reviewer as well as JGR editor, Deanne Rodgers, for helping improve this manuscript. Data Availability Statement. All Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity data products and data sets, including CheMin data, Mars images, and APXS data are archived at the NASA Planetary Data Systems and are available at (Gellert, 2013; Vaniman, 2013). APXS data used in this study specifically can be accessed through O’Connell-Cooper et al. (2022). CheMin XRD data presented in this paper is also archived the CheMin Open Data Repository (ODR; at The geochemical mixing model for this work is also archived on a FAIR repository and can be accessed at M. Thorpe et al. (2022).
Group:Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences
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Issue or Number:11
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20221205-666301600.18
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:118242
Deposited By: Research Services Depository
Deposited On:06 Jan 2023 22:58
Last Modified:06 Jan 2023 23:05

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