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Modeling the thermal and physical evolution of Mount Sharp's sedimentary rocks, Gale Crater, Mars: Implications for diagenesis on the MSL Curiosity rover traverse

Borlina, Cauê S. and Ehlmann, Bethany L. and Kite, Edwin S. (2015) Modeling the thermal and physical evolution of Mount Sharp's sedimentary rocks, Gale Crater, Mars: Implications for diagenesis on the MSL Curiosity rover traverse. Journal of Geophysical Research. Planets, 120 (8). pp. 1396-1414. ISSN 2169-9097. https://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechAUTHORS:20160902-073240470

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Abstract

Gale Crater, the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) landing site, contains a central mound, named Aeolis Mons (informally Mount Sharp) that preserves 5 km of sedimentary stratigraphy. Formation scenarios include (1) complete filling of Gale Crater followed by partial sediment removal or (2) building of a central deposit with morphology controlled by slope winds and only incomplete sedimentary fill. Here we model temperature-time paths for both scenarios, compare results with analyses provided by MSL Curiosity, and provide scenario-dependent predictions of temperatures of diagenesis along Curiosity's future traverse. The effects of variable sediment thermal conductivity and historical heat flows are also discussed. Modeled erosion and deposition rates are 5–37 µm/yr, consistent with previously published estimates from other Mars locations. The occurrence and spatial patterns of diagenesis depend on sedimentation scenario and surface paleotemperature. For (1) temperatures experienced by sediments decrease monotonically along the traverse and up Mount Sharp stratigraphy, whereas for (2) temperatures increase along the traverse reaching maximum temperatures higher up in Mount Sharp's lower units. If early Mars surface temperatures were similar to modern Mars (mean: −50°C), only select locations under select scenarios permit diagenetic fluids. In contrast, if early Mars surface temperatures averaged 0°C or brines had lowered freezing points, diagenesis is predicted in most locations with temperatures < 225°C. Comparing our predictions with future MSL results on diagenetic textures, secondary mineral assemblages, and their spatial variability will constrain past heat flow, Mount Sharp's formation processes, the availability of liquid water on early Mars, and sediment organic preservation potential.


Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/2015JE004799DOIArticle
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2015JE004799/abstractPublisherArticle
ORCID:
AuthorORCID
Ehlmann, Bethany L.0000-0002-2745-3240
Kite, Edwin S.0000-0002-1426-1186
Additional Information:© 2015. The Authors. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made. Accepted manuscript online: 14 July 2015; Manuscript Accepted: 7 July 2015; Manuscript Revised: 5 July 2015; Manuscript Received: 9 February 2015. The data for this paper are available at NASA's PDS Geoscience Node. This work was partially funded by an MSL Participating Scientist grant to B.L.E. The Caltech Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship program provided programmatic support to C.S.B. E.S.K. acknowledges support from a Princeton University Harry Hess fellowship.
Funders:
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NASAUNSPECIFIED
Caltech Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF)UNSPECIFIED
Princeton UniversityUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:burial diagenesis; sedimentation; erosion; heat flow; Gale Crater; Mars Science Laboratory (MSL)
Issue or Number:8
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20160902-073240470
Persistent URL:https://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechAUTHORS:20160902-073240470
Official Citation:Borlina, C. S., B. L. Ehlmann, and E. S. Kite (2015), Modeling the thermal and physical evolution of Mount Sharp's sedimentary rocks, Gale Crater, Mars: Implications for diagenesis on the MSL Curiosity rover traverse, J. Geophys. Res. Planets, 120, 1396–1414, doi:10.1002/2015JE004799
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:70134
Collection:CaltechAUTHORS
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:02 Sep 2016 18:19
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 10:28

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