A Caltech Library Service

Geochemical diversity and K-rich compositions found by the MSL APXS in Gale Crater, Mars

Schmidt, M. E. and King, P. L. and Gellert, R. and Elliott, B. and Thompson, L. and Berger, J. A. and Bridges, J. and Campbell, L. and Ehlmann, B. and Grotzinger, J. and Hurowitz, J. and Leshin, L. and Lewis, K. W. and McLennan, S. M. and Ming, D. W. and Perrett, G. M. and Pradler, I. and Stolper, E. M. and Squyres, S. W. and Trieman, A. H. (2013) Geochemical diversity and K-rich compositions found by the MSL APXS in Gale Crater, Mars. Mineralogical Magazine, 77 (5). p. 2158. ISSN 0026-461X. doi:10.1180/minmag.2013.077.5.12.

PDF - Published Version
See Usage Policy.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


Along the Curiosity rover’s traverse toward Glenelg (through sol 102) the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) analysed four rocks and one soil. Microscopic images and compositions of unbrushed rock surfaces are consistent with 5-20% dust contamination. Nevertheless, the underlying characteristics of these rocks may still be discerned. As a group, they span nearly the entire range in FeO^* and MnO of the Martian dataset. In addition, they are particularly enriched in volatile metals (K, Zn, Ge), and these elements do not correlate with Cl or S. One rock, Jake_Matijevic is notably alkaline and evolved; its composition is that of a nepheline normative mugearite. The other three rocks plot in the basanite field of a TAS diagram, with high K_2O (up to 3.0%) and low SiO_2. These three rocks are otherwise SNC-like (high Fe and low Al). Three out of the four rocks (including Jake_Matijevic) plot along a line in variation diagrams, suggesting mixing of Fe-rich and Al-rich components, likely by sedimentary processes. With only four rocks analyzed so far and ambiguity as to their geologic context (e.g. outcrop vs. float; igneous vs. sedimentary) additional measurements are needed to fully understand the region. It is nevertheless clear that Curiosity landed in a lithologically diverse, K-rich region of Mars.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Website
Gellert, R.0000-0001-7928-834X
Thompson, L.0000-0002-5444-952X
Bridges, J.0000-0002-9579-5779
Grotzinger, J.0000-0001-9324-1257
Lewis, K. W.0000-0003-3412-803X
McLennan, S. M.0000-0003-4259-7178
Ming, D. W.0000-0003-0567-8876
Stolper, E. M.0000-0001-8008-8804
Additional Information:© 2013 Mineralogical Society.
Group:UNSPECIFIED, Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences
Issue or Number:5
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20141013-151706165
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Schmidt M, King P, Gellert R, Elliott B, Thompson L, Berger J, Bridges J, Campbell JL, Ehlmann B, Hurowitz J, Leshin L, Lewis K, McLennan S, Ming D, Perrett G, Pradler I, Stolper E, Squyres S & Treiman A (2013) Mineralogical Magazine, 77(5) 2158
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:50363
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:13 Oct 2014 22:50
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 18:55

Repository Staff Only: item control page