Event Title

Mineralogic and Stratigraphic Analysis of Mount Sharp in Gale Crater, Mars

Research Mentor(s)

Melissa Rice

Description

Mineralogical data from the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover at Gale Crater, Mars may give insights into Mars’ transition from a warm, wet environment to the cold, dry planet that we see today (e.g., Milliken et al., 2010). This paleoclimate change is seen in the general mineralogical transition from an abundance of clay minerals to sulfate minerals in the stratigraphy, separated by an erosional unconformity. Aeolis Mons (Mount Sharp) is located slightly off-center in Gale crater and is a 5 km high sedimentological record of the crater that spans this transition. Mapping of Gale crater has previously been conducted using remote sensing analysis and geographic information systems (GIS); here, we build upon previous work to better correlate the mineralogy observed from orbital and in situ datasets with the geomorphology and stratigraphy of the region. Specifically, this work aims to test the following key hypotheses: (1) the depositional environment for the Aeolis Mons sediments was lacustrine; and (2) the alteration mineralogies observed at Aeolis Mons are primary, rather than diagenetic. We have used images from the High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) and mineralogy maps from the Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM) instruments onboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) to correlate the geomorphologic and mineralogic boundaries to test these hypotheses. Specifically, we searched for a lateral continuity in the stratigraphy and compared transitions in mineralogy to inferred lake levels of Palucis et al. (2016). Our analyses show correlations between mineralogy and stratigraphy in some regions, and mineralogy cross-cutting stratigraphy in others. Ongoing analyses will attempt to better define these relationships in both small and large scales.

Document Type

Event

Start Date

16-5-2018 9:00 AM

End Date

16-5-2018 12:00 PM

Location

Geology

Rights

Copying of this document in whole or in part is allowable only for scholarly purposes. It is understood, however, that any copying or publication of this document for commercial purposes, or for financial gain, shall not be allowed without the author’s written permission.

Language

English

Format

application/pdf

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May 16th, 9:00 AM May 16th, 12:00 PM

Mineralogic and Stratigraphic Analysis of Mount Sharp in Gale Crater, Mars

Geology

Mineralogical data from the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover at Gale Crater, Mars may give insights into Mars’ transition from a warm, wet environment to the cold, dry planet that we see today (e.g., Milliken et al., 2010). This paleoclimate change is seen in the general mineralogical transition from an abundance of clay minerals to sulfate minerals in the stratigraphy, separated by an erosional unconformity. Aeolis Mons (Mount Sharp) is located slightly off-center in Gale crater and is a 5 km high sedimentological record of the crater that spans this transition. Mapping of Gale crater has previously been conducted using remote sensing analysis and geographic information systems (GIS); here, we build upon previous work to better correlate the mineralogy observed from orbital and in situ datasets with the geomorphology and stratigraphy of the region. Specifically, this work aims to test the following key hypotheses: (1) the depositional environment for the Aeolis Mons sediments was lacustrine; and (2) the alteration mineralogies observed at Aeolis Mons are primary, rather than diagenetic. We have used images from the High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) and mineralogy maps from the Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM) instruments onboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) to correlate the geomorphologic and mineralogic boundaries to test these hypotheses. Specifically, we searched for a lateral continuity in the stratigraphy and compared transitions in mineralogy to inferred lake levels of Palucis et al. (2016). Our analyses show correlations between mineralogy and stratigraphy in some regions, and mineralogy cross-cutting stratigraphy in others. Ongoing analyses will attempt to better define these relationships in both small and large scales.