Raman spectroscopic documentation of Mars analog basalt alteration by brines

1Andrew Rodriguez,1Lindsey Hunt,2Charity Phillips-Lander,3Daniel Mason,1Megan Elwood Madden
Icarus (in Print) Link to Article [https://doi.org/10.1016/j.icarus.2022.115111]
1OU School of Geosciences, United States of America
2Southwest Research Institute, United States of America
3UNM School of Earth and Planetary Sciences, United States of America
Copyright Elsevier

Salts and basalt are widespread on the surface of Mars. Therefore, basalt-brine interactions may have significant effects on both the aqueous history of the planet, and near-surface alteration assemblages. Raman spectra were collected from McKinney Basalt samples that were immersed in eight near-saturated brines composed of Na-Cl-H2O, Na-SO4-H2O, Na-ClO4-H2O, Mg-Cl-H2O, Mg-SO4-H2O, and two salt mixtures (Mg-Cl-SO4-H2O and Na-ClO4-SO4-H2O), as well as ultra-pure water for up to one year. Secondary minerals were observed in the Raman specta, including iron oxides, hydrated sulfates, amorphous silica, phosphates, and carbonates. Detection of these secondary minerals demonstrates the utility of Raman spectroscopy to identify basalt-brine alteration assemblages on Mars. This work also demonstrates that major classes of alteration phases can be distinguished using Raman spectra with resolution similar to those expected from the Raman instruments aboard the Perseverance and Rosalind Franklin Mars rovers. In addition, observations of carbonate minerals within alteration assemblages suggest CO2 from the atmosphere readily reacted with ions released from the basalt during alteration in near-saturated brines.


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