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Hypotheses for the origin of fine-grained sedimentary rocks at Santa Maria crater, Meridiani Planum

Edgar, Lauren A. and Grotzinger, John P. and Bell, James F., III and Hurowitz, Joel A. (2014) Hypotheses for the origin of fine-grained sedimentary rocks at Santa Maria crater, Meridiani Planum. Icarus, 234 . pp. 36-44. ISSN 0019-1035. doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2014.02.019.

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En route to Endeavour crater, the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity embarked on a short but significant campaign at Santa Maria crater during sols 2450–2551. Santa Maria crater is a relatively young impact crater, approximately 100 m in diameter and 11–17 m deep. Opportunity performed detailed analyses on several ejecta blocks and completed an extensive imaging campaign around the crater. Many of the ejecta blocks are composed of sandstone with abundant wind ripple laminations suggestive of eolian deposition. However, other ejecta blocks are massive, fine-grained, and exhibit a nodular texture. These rocks are interpreted to be the first rocks of a grain size smaller than the Microscopic Imager can resolve, and may represent the first mudstones observed by the rover. Several depositional environments are considered for the origin of the fine-grained rocks, and the observations are best fit by a transient evaporitic lake. If the inferred mudstones were deposited in a lacustrine setting, then surface water may have been present in a broader range of surface environments than previously documented at Meridiani Planum.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Edgar, Lauren A.0000-0001-7512-7813
Grotzinger, John P.0000-0001-9324-1257
Bell, James F., III0000-0002-2006-4074
Hurowitz, Joel A.0000-0002-5857-8652
Additional Information:© 2014 Elsevier Inc. Received 30 May 2012. Revised 10 February 2014. Accepted 19 February 2014. Available online 28 February 2014. We would like to thank the Mars Exploration Rover science and engineering teams for making this investigation possible. We also thank the reviewers for their helpful and constructive remarks and suggestions. This work was supported by NASA Headquarters under the NASA Earth and Space Science Fellowship Program – Grant NNX11AP50H.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NASA Earth and Space Science FellowshipNNX11AP50H
Subject Keywords:Mars, surface; Mars, climate; Mars, atmosphere
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20140528-133119997
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Official Citation:Lauren A. Edgar, John P. Grotzinger, James F. Bell III, Joel A. Hurowitz, Hypotheses for the origin of fine-grained sedimentary rocks at Santa Maria crater, Meridiani Planum, Icarus, Volume 234, 15 May 2014, Pages 36-44, ISSN 0019-1035, (
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:45942
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:28 May 2014 20:50
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 17:18

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