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High concentrations of manganese and sulfur in deposits on Murray Ridge, Endeavour Crater, Mars

Arvidson, Raymond E. and Squyres, Steven W. and Morris, Richard V. and Knoll, Andrew H. and Gellert, Ralf and Clark, Benton C. and Catalano, Jeffrey G. and Jolliff, Brad L. and McLennan, Scott M. and Herkenhoff, Kenneth E. and VanBommel, Scott and Mittlefehldt, David W. and Grotzinger, John P. and Guinness, Edward A. and Johnson, Jeffrey R. and Bell, James F., III and Farrand, William H. and Stein, Nathan and Fox, Valerie K. and Golombek, Matthew P. and Hinkle, Margaret A. G. and Calvin, Wendy M. and de Souza, Paulo A., Jr (2016) High concentrations of manganese and sulfur in deposits on Murray Ridge, Endeavour Crater, Mars. American Mineralogist, 101 (6). pp. 1389-1405. ISSN 0003-004X. doi:10.2138/am-2016-5599.

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Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter HiRISE images and Opportunity rover observations of the ~22 km wide Noachian age Endeavour Crater on Mars show that the rim and surrounding terrains were densely fractured during the impact crater-forming event. Fractures have also propagated upward into the overlying Burns formation sandstones. Opportunity’s observations show that the western crater rim segment, called Murray Ridge, is composed of impact breccias with basaltic compositions, as well as occasional fracture-filling calcium sulfate veins. Cook Haven, a gentle depression on Murray Ridge, and the site where Opportunity spent its sixth winter, exposes highly fractured, recessive outcrops that have relatively high concentrations of S and Cl, consistent with modest aqueous alteration. Opportunity’s rover wheels serendipitously excavated and overturned several small rocks from a Cook Haven fracture zone. Extensive measurement campaigns were conducted on two of them: Pinnacle Island and Stuart Island. These rocks have the highest concentrations of Mn and S measured to date by Opportunity and occur as a relatively bright sulfate-rich coating on basaltic rock, capped by a thin deposit of one or more dark Mn oxide phases intermixed with sulfate minerals. We infer from these unique Pinnacle Island and Stuart Island rock measurements that subsurface precipitation of sulfate-dominated coatings was followed by an interval of partial dissolution and reaction with one or more strong oxidants (e.g., O_2) to produce the Mn oxide mineral(s) intermixed with sulfate-rich salt coatings. In contrast to arid regions on Earth, where Mn oxides are widely incorporated into coatings on surface rocks, our results demonstrate that on Mars the most likely place to deposit and preserve Mn oxides was in fracture zones where migrating fluids intersected surface oxidants, forming precipitates shielded from subsequent physical erosion.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Arvidson, Raymond E.0000-0002-2854-0362
Knoll, Andrew H.0000-0003-1308-8585
Gellert, Ralf0000-0001-7928-834X
Clark, Benton C.0000-0002-5546-8757
Catalano, Jeffrey G.0000-0001-9311-977X
McLennan, Scott M.0000-0003-4259-7178
Herkenhoff, Kenneth E.0000-0002-3153-6663
VanBommel, Scott0000-0002-6565-0827
Mittlefehldt, David W.0000-0002-5920-8987
Grotzinger, John P.0000-0001-9324-1257
Guinness, Edward A.0000-0002-0172-3441
Johnson, Jeffrey R.0000-0002-5586-4901
Bell, James F., III0000-0002-2006-4074
Golombek, Matthew P.0000-0002-1928-2293
Additional Information:© 2016 Mineralogical Society of America. Open Access, thanks to the authors’ funding. Article available to all readers via GSW ( and the MSA web site. Manuscript received October 20, 2015; Manuscript accepted February 5, 2016; First Published on June 02, 2016. Manuscript handled by Richard April. We thank the Opportunity Project Team at the NASA/Caltech Jet Propulsion Laboratory and scientists from many institutions who made possible the collection of data included in this paper. We thank Paolo Bellutta for help in localizing APXS fields of view and Susan Slavney and Jennifer Ward for careful review and editing of text and figures. Bonnie Redding, U.S. Geological Survey, kindly generated the MI anaglyphs. We also thank NASA for the support needed to operate Opportunity and collect and analyze the data included in this paper and the Mars Fundamental Research Program support to J.G. Catalano. The NASA Planetary Data System Geosciences Node houses the data included in this paper and we thank them for their efforts. See Any use of trade, firm, or product names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.
Issue or Number:6
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20160708-105457401
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Official Citation:High concentrations of manganese and sulfur in deposits on Murray Ridge, Endeavour Crater, Mars Raymond E. Arvidson, Steven W. Squyres, Richard V. Morris, Andrew H. Knoll, Ralf Gellert, Benton C. Clark, Jeffrey G. Catalano, Brad L. Jolliff, Scott M. McLennan, Kenneth E. Herkenhoff, Scott VanBommel, David W. Mittlefehldt, John P. Grotzinger, Edward A. Guinness, Jeffrey R. Johnson, James F. Bell, William H. Farrand, Nathan Stein, Valerie K. Fox, Matthew P. Golombek, Margaret A.G. Hinkle, Wendy M. Calvin, Paulo A. de Souza American Mineralogist Jun 2016, 101 (6) 1389-1405; DOI: 10.2138/am-2016-5599
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:68921
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:08 Jul 2016 23:41
Last Modified:11 Nov 2021 04:06

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