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Chemistry and texture of the rocks at Rocknest, Gale Crater: Evidence for sedimentary origin and diagenetic alteration

Blaney, D. L. and Stack, K. (2014) Chemistry and texture of the rocks at Rocknest, Gale Crater: Evidence for sedimentary origin and diagenetic alteration. Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, 119 (9). pp. 2109-2131. ISSN 2169-9100. https://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechAUTHORS:20141020-105119008

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Abstract

A suite of eight rocks analyzed by the Curiosity Rover while it was stopped at the Rocknest sand ripple shows the greatest chemical divergence of any potentially sedimentary rocks analyzed in the early part of the mission. Relative to average Martian soil and to the stratigraphically lower units encountered as part of the Yellowknife Bay formation, these rocks are significantly depleted in MgO, with a mean of 1.3 wt %, and high in Fe, averaging over 20 wt % FeO_T, with values between 15 and 26 wt % FeO_T. The variable iron and low magnesium and rock texture make it unlikely that these are igneous rocks. Rock surface textures range from rough to smooth, can be pitted or grooved, and show various degrees of wind erosion. Some rocks display poorly defined layering while others seem to show possible fractures. Narrow vertical voids are present in Rocknest 3, one of the rocks showing the strongest layering. Rocks in the vicinity of Rocknest may have undergone some diagenesis similar to other rocks in the Yellowknife Bay Formation as indicated by the presence of soluble calcium phases. The most reasonable scenario is that fine-grained sediments, potentially a mixture of feldspar-rich rocks from Bradbury Rise and normal Martian soil, were lithified together by an iron-rich cement.


Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2013JE004590/abstractPublisherArticle
http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/2013JE004590DOIArticle
Additional Information:© 2014 American Geophysical Union. Received 7 Dec 2013. Accepted 6 Aug 2014. Accepted article online 14 Aug 2014. Published online 10 Sep 2014. This work has been conducted at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. This work was funded by NASA’s Mars Exploration Program in the U.S. and by CNES in France and by the Canadian Space Agency in Canada. We acknowledge partial funding by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG grant GO 2288/1-1) for the participation of Walter Goetz. We thank two anonymous reviewers for helpful reviews. The many other people who made the MSL mission successful are gratefully thanked and acknowledged.
Funders:
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NASA/JPL/CaltechUNSPECIFIED
NASA Mars Exploration ProgramUNSPECIFIED
CNES (France) UNSPECIFIED
Canadian Space Agency (CSA)UNSPECIFIED
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)GO 2288/1-1
Subject Keywords:Rocknest; ChemCam; LIBS; Curiosity; Gale
Issue or Number:9
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20141020-105119008
Persistent URL:https://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechAUTHORS:20141020-105119008
Official Citation:Blaney, D. L., et al. (2014), Chemistry and texture of the rocks at Rocknest, Gale Crater: Evidence for sedimentary origin and diagenetic alteration, J. Geophys. Res. Planets, 119, 2109–2131, doi:10.1002/2013JE004590.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:50548
Collection:CaltechAUTHORS
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:20 Oct 2014 18:26
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 07:24

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