Chemical variability in mineralized veins observed by ChemCam on the lower slopes of Mount Sharp in Gale crater, Mars

1J. L’Haridon et al. (>10)
Icarus (in Press) Link to Article [https://doi.org/10.1016/j.icarus.2018.01.028]
1Laboratoire de Planétologie et de Géodynamique, Université de Nantes, Nantes, France
Copyright Elsevier

ChemCam has observed a wide range of diagenetic features along the Curiosity rover traverse including pervasive Ca-sulfate veins. Observations by multiple instruments on Curiosity indicate that these veins are hydrated, formed during diagenetic fluid event(s). In this study, we delve into the chemical variability in these Ca-sulfate bearing veins and have identified two subsets in the Murray formation with enrichments in Fe and Fe+Mg. These chemical trends do not reflect a sampling mixture with the surrounding host rock but likely indicates the presence of authigenic phases formed during the emplacement of these veins. Based on passive reflectance spectral analysis and correlation with other elements, Fe3+ oxides and/or sulfates are proposed to account for the Fe-rich observations in the vicinity of the Naukluft Plateau whereas the Fe+Mg trend is also observed in adjacent dark-toned features with elevated Mn and P near the Old Soaker outcrop. The specific localization of these observations in the Gale stratigraphy implies changing pH and redox conditions in the groundwater at the time of formation of these veins, from oxidizing and likely more acidic near the Naukluft Plateau to more reducing conditions in the upper part of the Murray formation.

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