Welcome to the new version of CaltechAUTHORS. Login is currently restricted to library staff. If you notice any issues, please email coda@library.caltech.edu
Published October 9, 2015 | public
Journal Article Open

Deposition, exhumation, and paleoclimate of an ancient lake deposit, Gale crater, Mars


The landforms of northern Gale crater on Mars expose thick sequences of sedimentary rocks. Based on images obtained by the Curiosity rover, we interpret these outcrops as evidence for past fluvial, deltaic, and lacustrine environments. Degradation of the crater wall and rim probably supplied these sediments, which advanced inward from the wall, infilling both the crater and an internal lake basin to a thickness of at least 75 meters. This intracrater lake system probably existed intermittently for thousands to millions of years, implying a relatively wet climate that supplied moisture to the crater rim and transported sediment via streams into the lake basin. The deposits in Gale crater were then exhumed, probably by wind-driven erosion, creating Aeolis Mons (Mount Sharp).

Additional Information

© 2015 American Association for the Advancement of Science. Received for publication 8 June 2015. Accepted for publication 4 August 2015. The authors are indebted to the MSL project's engineering and management teams for their exceptionally skilled and diligent efforts in making the mission as effective as possible and enhancing science operations. We are also grateful to all those MSL team members who participated in tactical and strategic operations. Without the support of both the engineering and science teams, the data presented here could not have been collected. Helpful reviews were provided by K. Bohacs and two anonymous reviewers. Some of this research was carried out at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with NASA. Work in the UK was funded by the UK Space Agency. Data presented in this paper are archived in the Planetary Data System (pds.nasa.gov).

Attached Files

Supplemental Material - aac7575-grotzinger-sm.pdf


Files (15.3 MB)
Name Size Download all
15.3 MB Preview Download

Additional details

August 20, 2023
August 20, 2023