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Late-Stage Diagenetic Concretions in the Murray Formation, Gale Crater, Mars

Sun, Vivian Z. and Stack, Kathryn M. and Kah, Linda C. and Thompson, Lucy and Fischer, Woodward and Williams, Amy J. and Johnson, Sarah S. and Wiens, Roger C. and Kronyak, Rachel E. and Nachon, Marion and House, Christopher H. and VanBommel, Scott (2019) Late-Stage Diagenetic Concretions in the Murray Formation, Gale Crater, Mars. Icarus, 321 . pp. 866-890. ISSN 0019-1035.

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Concretions are prevalent features in the generally lacustrine deposits of the Murray formation in Gale crater. In this work, we document the morphologic, textural, and chemical properties of these concretions throughout 300 m of Murray formation stratigraphy from Mars Science Laboratory observations between Sols 750–1900. We interpret these observations to constrain the timing and composition of post-depositional fluid events at Gale crater. We determine that the overall diversity of concretion morphology, size, texture, and chemistry throughout the Murray formation indicates that concretions formed in multiple, likely late diagenetic, episodes with varying fluid chemistries. Four major concretion assemblages are observed at distinct stratigraphic intervals and approximately correlate with major distinct chemical enrichments in Mg-S-Ni-Cl, Mn-P, and Ca-S, among other local enrichments. Different concretion size populations and complex relationships between concretions and veins also suggest multiple precipitation events at Gale crater. Many concretions likely formed during late diagenesis after sediment compaction and lithification, based on observations of concretions preserving primary host rock laminations without differential compaction. An upsection decrease in overall concretion size corresponds to an inferred upsection decrease in porosity and permeability, thus constraining concretion formation as postdating fluid events that produced initial cementation and porosity loss. The combined observations of late diagenetic concretions and distinct chemical enrichments related to concretions allow constraints to be placed on the chemistry of late stage fluids at Gale crater. Collectively, concretion observations from this work and previous studies of other diagenetic features (veins, alteration halos) suggest at least six post-depositional events that occurred at Gale crater after the deposition of the Murray formation.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Stack, Kathryn M.0000-0003-3444-6695
Kah, Linda C.0000-0001-7172-2033
Thompson, Lucy0000-0002-5444-952X
Fischer, Woodward0000-0002-8836-3054
Williams, Amy J.0000-0001-6299-0845
Wiens, Roger C.0000-0002-3409-7344
VanBommel, Scott0000-0002-6565-0827
Additional Information:© 2018 Published by Elsevier Inc. Received 17 September 2018, Revised 4 December 2018, Accepted 12 December 2018, Available online 13 December 2018. We are indebted to the MSL team of engineers and scientists for maintaining this mission and collecting the data used in this work. We are very grateful for the positive and constructive reviews provided by two anonymous reviewers. We also thank Fred Calef for providing lists of instrument observations that facilitated this work and Nicholas Ruoff, Amy Culver, and Bob Deen for help in generating orthorectified Mastcam images. This research was carried out at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Co-authors in the United States were funded by the NASAMars Exploration program. Declarations of interest: None.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Subject Keywords:Mars; Concretions; Diagenesis; Mars Science Laboratory; Gale crater
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20181213-104704871
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Official Citation:Vivian Z. Sun, Kathryn M. Stack, Linda C. Kah, Lucy Thompson, Woodward Fischer, Amy J. Williams, Sarah S. Johnson, Roger C. Wiens, Rachel E. Kronyak, Marion Nachon, Christopher H. House, Scott VanBommel, Late-stage diagenetic concretions in the Murray formation, Gale crater, Mars, Icarus, Volume 321, 2019, Pages 866-890, ISSN 0019-1035, (
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:91756
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:13 Dec 2018 19:11
Last Modified:03 Jan 2019 18:48

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