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Wind-blown sandstones cemented by sulfate and clay minerals in Gale Crater, Mars

Milliken, R. E. and Ewing, Ryan C. and Fischer, W. W. and Hurowitz, J. (2014) Wind-blown sandstones cemented by sulfate and clay minerals in Gale Crater, Mars. Geophysical Research Letters, 41 (4). pp. 1149-1154. ISSN 0094-8276.

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Gale Crater contains Mount Sharp, a ~5km thick stratigraphic record of Mars’ early environmental history. The strata comprising Mount Sharp are believed to be sedimentary in origin, but the specific depositional environments recorded by the rocks remain speculative. We present orbital evidence for the occurrence of eolian sandstones within Gale Crater and the lower reaches of Mount Sharp, including preservation of wind-blown sand dune topography in sedimentary strata—a phenomenon that is rare on Earth and typically associated with stabilization, rapid sedimentation, transgression, and submergence of the land surface. The preserved bedforms in Gale are associated with clay minerals and elsewhere accompanied by typical dune cross stratification marked by bounding surfaces whose lateral equivalents contain sulfate salts. These observations extend the range of possible habitable environments that may be recorded within Gale Crater and provide hypotheses that can be tested in situ by the Curiosity rover payload.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Milliken, R. E.0000-0003-3240-4918
Ewing, Ryan C.0000-0001-6337-610X
Fischer, W. W.0000-0002-8836-3054
Additional Information:© 2014 American Geophysical Union. Received 19 DEC 2013; Accepted 30 JAN 2014; Accepted article online 31 JAN 2014; Published online 22 FEB 2014. REM was supported for this work in part by NASA MDAP grant NNX12A063G. We thank John Grotzinger and Dave Rubin for insightful comments during the preparation of this paper. We also thank David Loope and Lauren Edgar for thoughtful reviews that improved the manuscript. The Editor thanks David Loope and an anonymous reviewer for their assistance in evaluating this paper.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NASA Mars Data Analysis Program (MDAP)NNX12A063G
Subject Keywords:Mars; Gale Crater; clay; eolian; sandstone; CRISM
Issue or Number:4
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20140428-122700957
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Official Citation:Milliken, R. E., R. C. Ewing, W. W. Fischer, and J. Hurowitz (2014), Wind-blown sandstones cemented by sulfate and clay minerals in Gale Crater, Mars, Geophys. Res. Lett., 41, 1149–1154, doi:10.1002/2013GL059097.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:45247
Deposited By: Aucoeur Ngo
Deposited On:28 Apr 2014 19:59
Last Modified:09 Mar 2020 13:19

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