Sedimentological and Geochemical Perspectives on a Marginal Lake Environment Recorded in the Hartmann’s Valley and Karasburg Members of the Murray Formation, Gale Crater, Mars

1S. Gwizd et al. (>10)
Journal of Geophysical Research (Planets) (in Press) Open Access Link to Article []
1Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, University of Tennessee at Knoxville, Knoxville, TN, USA
Published by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons

This study utilizes instruments from the Curiosity rover payload to develop an integrated paleoenvironmental and compositional reconstruction for the 65-m thick interval of stratigraphy comprising the Hartmann’s Valley and Karasburg members of the Murray formation, Gale crater, Mars. The stratigraphy consists of cross-stratified sandstone (Facies 1), planar-laminated sandstone (Facies 2), and planar-laminated mudstone (Facies 3). Facies 1 is composed of sandstone showing truncated sets of concave-curvilinear laminae stacked into cosets. Sets are estimated to be meter-to sub-meter-scale, consistent with low-height dunes. Thin stratigraphic intervals of Facies 1 and stacking patterns with Facies 2 and 3 support a wet aeolian dune interpretation. Meter-thick packages of planar-laminated sandstone (Facies 2) are interpreted to represent interfingering dune-interdune strata. Facies 3 consists of meter-thick packages of planar-laminated mudstone interpreted to represent lacustrine deposition with persistent standing water. Integration of geochemistry with each facies reveals some compositional control based on the depositional process. Models for source rock composition from Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer measurements show that facies derived from a basaltic source. Alteration indices and geochemical trends provide evidence that moderate chemical weathering occurred before compositional changes due to diagenesis. Differences in wt% FeO(T) and TiO2 between facies are minimal, though trends point to sediment sorting in transport. Comparisons to terrestrial basaltic sedimentary systems indicate that the Hartmann’s Valley and Karasburg facies reflect deposition in an environment where diverse subaqueous and subaerial facies persisted adjacent to a long-lived body of water.


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