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Calcium sulfate veins characterized by ChemCam/Curiosity at Gale crater, Mars

Nachon, M. and Ehlmann, B. and Grotzinger, J. and Rice, M. and Stack, K. (2014) Calcium sulfate veins characterized by ChemCam/Curiosity at Gale crater, Mars. Journal of Geophysical Research. Planets, 119 (9). pp. 1991-2016. ISSN 2169-9097. doi:10.1002/2013JE004588.

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The Curiosity rover has analyzed abundant light-toned fracture-fill material within the Yellowknife Bay sedimentary deposits. The ChemCam instrument, coupled with Mastcam and ChemCam/Remote Micro Imager images, was able to demonstrate that these fracture fills consist of calcium sulfate veins, many of which appear to be hydrated at a level expected for gypsum and bassanite. Anhydrite is locally present and is found in a location characterized by a nodular texture. An intricate assemblage of veins crosses the sediments, which were likely formed by precipitation from fluids circulating through fractures. The presence of veins throughout the entire ~5 m thick Yellowknife Bay sediments suggests that this process occurred well after sedimentation and cementation/lithification of those sediments. The sulfur-rich fluids may have originated in previously precipitated sulfate-rich layers, either before the deposition of the Sheepbed mudstones or from unrelated units such as the sulfates at the base of Mount Sharp. The occurrence of these veins after the episodes of deposition of fluvial sediments at the surface suggests persistent aqueous activity in relatively nonacidic conditions.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription DOIArticle
Nachon, M.0000-0003-0417-7076
Ehlmann, B.0000-0002-2745-3240
Grotzinger, J.0000-0001-9324-1257
Rice, M.0000-0002-8370-4139
Stack, K.0000-0003-3444-6695
Additional Information:© 2014 American Geophysical Union. Received 29 NOV 2013; Accepted 7 JUL 2014; Accepted article online 12 JUL 2014; Published online 9 SEP 2014. We acknowledge P. Sobron and an anonymous reviewer for their revisions. Funding in the USA was provided by the NASA Mars Program Office to the MSL project. Funding in France was provided by the Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES), the Institut National des Sciences de l’Univers (INSU), the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), and the Observatoire des Sciences de l’Univers Nantes Atlantique (OSUNA). Data used in this study are available at the Planetary Data System (
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Centre National d’Études Spatiales (CNES)UNSPECIFIED
Institut national des sciences de l'Univers (INSU)UNSPECIFIED
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS)UNSPECIFIED
Observatoire des Sciences de l’Univers Nantes Atlantique (OSUNA)UNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:Mars; Curiosity; ChemCam; sulfates; alteration; LIBS
Issue or Number:9
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20141219-111809382
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Nachon, M. et al. (2014), Calcium sulfate veins characterized by ChemCam/Curiosity at Gale crater, Mars, J. Geophys. Res. Planets, 119, 1991–2016, doi:10.1002/2013JE004588
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:53040
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:19 Dec 2014 20:00
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 19:47

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