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Veneers, rinds, and fracture fills: Relatively late alteration of sedimentary rocks at Meridiani Planum, Mars

Knoll, Andrew H. and Jolliff, Brad L. and Farrand, William H. and Bell, James F., III and Clark, Benton C. and Gellert, Ralf and Golombek, M. P. and Grotzinger, John P. and Herkenhoff, Kenneth E. and Johnson, Jeffrey R. and McLennan, Scott M. and Morris, Richard and Squyres, Steven W. and Sullivan, Robert and Tosca, Nicholas J. and Yen, Albert and Learner, Zoe (2008) Veneers, rinds, and fracture fills: Relatively late alteration of sedimentary rocks at Meridiani Planum, Mars. Journal of Geophysical Research E, 113 (E6). Art. No. E06S16. ISSN 0148-0227.

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Veneers and thicker rinds that coat outcrop surfaces and partially cemented fracture fills formed perpendicular to bedding document relatively late stage alteration of ancient sedimentary rocks at Meridiani Planum, Mars. The chemistry of submillimeter thick, buff-colored veneers reflects multiple processes at work since the establishment of the current plains surface. Veneer composition is dominated by the mixing of silicate-rich dust and sulfate-rich outcrop surface, but it has also been influenced by mineral precipitation, including NaCl, and possibly by limited physical or chemical weathering of sulfate minerals. Competing processes of chemical alteration (perhaps mediated by thin films of water or water vapor beneath blanketing soils) and sandblasting of exposed outcrop surfaces determine the current distribution of veneers. Dark-toned rinds several millimeters thick reflect more extensive surface alteration but also indicate combined dust admixture, halite precipitation, and possible minor sulfate removal. Cemented fracture fills that are differentially resistant to erosion occur along the margins of linear fracture systems possibly related to impact. These appear to reflect limited groundwater activity along the margins of fractures, cementing mechanically introduced fill derived principally from outcrop rocks. The limited thickness and spatial distribution of these three features suggest that aqueous activity has been rare and transient or has operated at exceedingly low rates during the protracted interval since outcropping Meridiani strata were exposed on the plains surface.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Knoll, Andrew H.0000-0003-1308-8585
Bell, James F., III0000-0002-2006-4074
Clark, Benton C.0000-0002-5546-8757
Gellert, Ralf0000-0001-7928-834X
Golombek, M. P.0000-0002-1928-2293
Grotzinger, John P.0000-0001-9324-1257
Herkenhoff, Kenneth E.0000-0002-3153-6663
Johnson, Jeffrey R.0000-0002-5586-4901
McLennan, Scott M.0000-0003-4259-7178
Additional Information:© 2008 American Geophysical Union. Received 1 June 2007; revised 7 September 2007; accepted 10 January 2008; published 8 May 2008. This is a contribution by the Athena science team for Mars Exploration Rover mission. We thank NASA for support and the many engineers and scientists involved in MER for making this mission so successful. We also thank Dawn Sumner for a most useful review.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Subject Keywords:diagenesis; Meridiani Planum; Mars
Issue or Number:E6
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20131126-112636197
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Official Citation:Knoll, A. H., et al. (2008), Veneers, rinds, and fracture fills: Relatively late alteration of sedimentary rocks at Meridiani Planum, Mars, J. Geophys. Res., 113, E06S16, doi:10.1029/2007JE002949.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:42740
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:27 Nov 2013 16:38
Last Modified:09 Mar 2020 13:19

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