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Desiccation cracks provide evidence of lake drying on Mars, Sutton Island member, Murray formation, Gale Crater

Stein, N. and Grotzinger, J. P. and Schieber, J. and Mangold, N. and Hallet, B. and Newsom, H. and Stack, K. M. and Berger, J. A. and Thompson, L. and Siebach, K. L. and Cousin, A. and Le Mouélic, S. and Minitti, M. and Sumner, D. Y. and Fedo, C. and House, C. H. and Gupta, S. and Vasavada, A. R. and Gellert, R. and Wiens, R. C. and Frydenvang, J. and Forni, O. and Meslin, P. Y. and Payré, V. and Dehouck, E. (2018) Desiccation cracks provide evidence of lake drying on Mars, Sutton Island member, Murray formation, Gale Crater. Geology, 46 (6). pp. 515-518. ISSN 0091-7613. doi:10.1130/G40005.1.

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Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Curiosity rover data are used to describe the morphology of desiccation cracks observed in ancient lacustrine strata at Gale crater, Mars, and to interpret their paleoenvironmental setting. The desiccation cracks indicate subaerial exposure of lacustrine facies in the Sutton Island member of the Murray formation. In association with ripple cross-stratification and possible eolian cross-bedding, these facies indicate a transition from longer-lived perennial lakes recorded by older strata to younger lakes characterized by intermittent exposure. The transition from perennial to episodically exposed lacustrine environments provides evidence for local to regional climate change that can help constrain Mars climate models.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Stein, N.0000-0003-3385-9957
Grotzinger, J. P.0000-0001-9324-1257
Mangold, N.0000-0002-0022-0631
Newsom, H.0000-0002-4358-8161
Stack, K. M.0000-0003-3444-6695
Thompson, L.0000-0002-5444-952X
Siebach, K. L.0000-0002-6628-6297
Cousin, A.0000-0001-7823-7794
Minitti, M.0000-0003-4715-4544
Sumner, D. Y.0000-0002-7343-2061
House, C. H.0000-0002-4926-4985
Vasavada, A. R.0000-0003-2665-286X
Gellert, R.0000-0001-7928-834X
Wiens, R. C.0000-0002-3409-7344
Frydenvang, J.0000-0001-9294-1227
Forni, O.0000-0001-6772-9689
Meslin, P. Y.0000-0002-0703-3951
Payré, V.0000-0002-7052-0795
Dehouck, E.0000-0002-1368-4494
Additional Information:© 2018 The Authors. Gold Open Access: This paper is published under the terms of the CC-BY license. Manuscript received 18 December 2017; Revised manuscript received 20 March 2018; Manuscript accepted 29 March 2018; Published: April 16, 2018. We are indebted to the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) project engineering and science teams, and MSL team members who participated in tactical and strategic operations, for their efforts that were vital in collecting the data presented. Thanks to S. Kattenhorn, K. Benison, and K. Herkenhoff for reviews that improved this manuscript. Some of this research was performed at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology (USA), under a contract with NASA. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Grant No. DGE-1144469. These data are archived in the Planetary Data System (
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NSF Graduate Research FellowshipDGE-1144469
Issue or Number:6
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20180416-161837681
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:N. Stein, J.P. Grotzinger, J. Schieber, N. Mangold, B. Hallet, H. Newsom, K.M. Stack, J.A. Berger, L. Thompson, K.L. Siebach, A. Cousin, S. Le Mouélic, M. Minitti, D.Y. Sumner, C. Fedo, C.H. House, S. Gupta, A.R. Vasavada, R. Gellert, R. C. Wiens, J. Frydenvang, O. Forni, P. Y. Meslin, V. Payré, E. Dehouck; Desiccation cracks provide evidence of lake drying on Mars, Sutton Island member, Murray formation, Gale Crater. Geology ; 46 (6): 515–518. doi:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:85887
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:16 Apr 2018 23:26
Last Modified:15 Nov 2021 20:33

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