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Mars Science Laboratory Observations of Chloride Salts in Gale Crater, Mars

Thomas, N. H. and Ehlmann, B. L. and Meslin, P.‐Y. and Rapin, W. and Anderson, D. E. and Rivera‐Hernández, F. and Forni, O. and Schröder, S. and Cousin, A. and Mangold, N. and Gellert, R. and Gasnault, O. and Wiens, R. C. (2019) Mars Science Laboratory Observations of Chloride Salts in Gale Crater, Mars. Geophysical Research Letters, 46 (19). pp. 10754-10763. ISSN 0094-8276. PMCID PMC6919417. doi:10.1029/2019gl082764.

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The Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover is traversing a sequence of stratified sedimentary rocks in Gale crater that contain varied aeolian, fluviodeltaic, and lake deposits, with phyllosilicates, iron oxides, and sulfate salts. Here, we report the chloride salt distribution along the rover traverse. Chlorine is detected at low levels (<3 wt.%) in soil and rock targets with multiple MSL instruments. Isolated fine‐scale observations of high chlorine (up to ≥ 15 wt.% Cl), detected using the ChemCam instrument, are associated with elevated Na_2O and interpreted as halite grains or cements in bedrock. Halite is also interpreted at the margins of veins and in nodular, altered textures. We have not detected halite in obvious evaporitic layers. Instead, its scattered distribution indicates that chlorides emplaced earlier in particular members of the Murray formation were remobilized and reprecipitated by later groundwaters within Murray formation mudstones and in diagenetic veins and nodules.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription CentralArticle
Thomas, N. H.0000-0003-1989-4860
Ehlmann, B. L.0000-0002-2745-3240
Meslin, P.‐Y.0000-0002-0703-3951
Rapin, W.0000-0003-4660-8006
Anderson, D. E.0000-0002-8310-0554
Rivera‐Hernández, F.0000-0003-1401-2259
Forni, O.0000-0001-6772-9689
Schröder, S.0000-0003-1870-3663
Cousin, A.0000-0001-7823-7794
Mangold, N.0000-0002-0022-0631
Gellert, R.0000-0001-7928-834X
Gasnault, O.0000-0002-6979-9012
Wiens, R. C.0000-0002-3409-7344
Additional Information:© 2019 The Authors. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The copyright line for this article was changed on 18 OCT 2019 after original online publication. Received 18 MAR 2019; Accepted 18 JUL 2019; Accepted article online 23 AUG 2019; Published online 7 OCT 2019. Work at Caltech was supported by a NASA MSL Participating Scientist Program grant to B. L. Ehlmann and a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Grant DGE‐1144469 to N. H. Thomas. N. H. Thomas thanks the LSSTC Data Science Fellowship Program, which is funded by LSSTC, NSF Cybertraining Grant 1829740, the Brinson Foundation, and the Moore Foundation; her participation in the program has benefited this work. Supporting laboratory data have been previously published in Anderson, Ehlmann, et al. (2017) and Thomas et al. (2018). ChemCam data used for this paper are publicly available on the Planetary Data System (http://pds‐ APXS Cl data are also publicly available on the Planetary Data System (http://pds‐‐m‐apxs‐4_5‐rdr‐v1/mslapx_1xxx/extras/).
Group:Astronomy Department
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NSF Graduate Research FellowshipDGE-1144469
LSSTC Institutional MembersUNSPECIFIED
Brinson FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Gordon and Betty Moore FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Issue or Number:19
PubMed Central ID:PMC6919417
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20190826-081524830
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Thomas, N. H., Ehlmann, B. L., Meslin, P.‐Y., Rapin, W., Anderson, D. E., Rivera‐Hernández, F., et al. (2019). Mars Science Laboratory observations of chloride salts in Gale crater, Mars. Geophysical Research Letters, 46, 10754–10763.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:98202
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:26 Aug 2019 16:09
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 17:37

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