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A synthesis of Martian aqueous mineralogy after 1 Mars year of observations from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

Murchie, Scott L. and Mustard, John F. and Ehlmann, Bethany L. and Milliken, Ralph E. and Bishop, Janice L. and McKeown, Nancy K. and Dobrea, Eldar Z. Noe and Seelos, Frank P. and Buczkowski, Debra L. and Wiseman, Sandra M. and Arvidson, Raymond E. and Wray, James J. and Swayze, Gregg and Clark, Roger N. and Des Marais, David J. and McEwen, Alfred S. and Bibring, Jean-Pierre (2009) A synthesis of Martian aqueous mineralogy after 1 Mars year of observations from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Journal of Geophysical Research E, 114 (E2). Art. No. E00D06. ISSN 0148-0227.

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Martian aqueous mineral deposits have been examined and characterized using data acquired during Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter's (MRO) primary science phase, including Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars hyperspectral images covering the 0.4–3.9 μm wavelength range, coordinated with higher–spatial resolution HiRISE and Context Imager images. MRO's new high-resolution measurements, combined with earlier data from Thermal Emission Spectrometer; Thermal Emission Imaging System; and Observatoire pour la Minéralogie, L'Eau, les Glaces et l'Activitié on Mars Express, indicate that aqueous minerals are both diverse and widespread on the Martian surface. The aqueous minerals occur in 9–10 classes of deposits characterized by distinct mineral assemblages, morphologies, and geologic settings. Phyllosilicates occur in several settings: in compositionally layered blankets hundreds of meters thick, superposed on eroded Noachian terrains; in lower layers of intracrater depositional fans; in layers with potential chlorides in sediments on intercrater plains; and as thousands of deep exposures in craters and escarpments. Carbonate-bearing rocks form a thin unit surrounding the Isidis basin. Hydrated silica occurs with hydrated sulfates in thin stratified deposits surrounding Valles Marineris. Hydrated sulfates also occur together with crystalline ferric minerals in thick, layered deposits in Terra Meridiani and in Valles Marineris and together with kaolinite in deposits that partially infill some highland craters. In this paper we describe each of the classes of deposits, review hypotheses for their origins, identify new questions posed by existing measurements, and consider their implications for ancient habitable environments. On the basis of current data, two to five classes of Noachian-aged deposits containing phyllosilicates and carbonates may have formed in aqueous environments with pH and water activities suitable for life.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription DOIArticle
Murchie, Scott L.0000-0002-1616-8751
Ehlmann, Bethany L.0000-0002-2745-3240
Milliken, Ralph E.0000-0003-3240-4918
Arvidson, Raymond E.0000-0002-2854-0362
Additional Information:© 2009 by the American Geophysical Union. Received 24 January 2009; revised 8 May 2009; accepted 11 June 2009; published 22 September 2009. The authors thank the CRISM, HiRISE, CTX, and MRO operations team for collecting the data that made the results in this paper possible. This work was supported by MRO funding through subcontract 852950 from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Subject Keywords:deposits; CRISM; Mars
Issue or Number:E2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20140224-142546455
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Official Citation:Murchie, S. L., et al. (2009), A synthesis of Martian aqueous mineralogy after 1 Mars year of observations from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, J. Geophys. Res., 114, E00D06, doi:10.1029/2009JE003342.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:43957
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:24 Feb 2014 23:28
Last Modified:09 Mar 2020 13:19

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