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Title: Oxidation of manganese in an ancient aquifer, Kimberley formation, Gale crater, Mars

Abstract

We report that the Curiosity rover observed high Mn abundances (>25 wt % MnO) in fracture-filling materials that crosscut sandstones in the Kimberley region of Gale crater, Mars. The correlation between Mn and trace metal abundances plus the lack of correlation between Mn and elements such as S, Cl, and C, reveals that these deposits are Mn oxides rather than evaporites or other salts. On Earth, environments that concentrate Mn and deposit Mn minerals require water and highly oxidizing conditions; hence, these findings suggest that similar processes occurred on Mars. In conclusion, based on the strong association between Mn-oxide deposition and evolving atmospheric dioxygen levels on Earth, the presence of these Mn phases on Mars suggests that there was more abundant molecular oxygen within the atmosphere and some groundwaters of ancient Mars than in the present day.

Authors:
 [1];  [1];  [2];  [3];  [4];  [5];  [4];  [6];  [6];  [7];  [8];  [9];  [10];  [11];  [12];  [11];  [5];  [1];  [13];  [14] more »;  [15];  [16];  [13];  [17];  [18];  [9];  [12];  [13];  [19];  [14];  [19];  [20];  [13];  [21];  [7];  [22];  [1];  [23];  [13];  [24];  [25];  [5];  [26];  [27] « less
  1. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
  2. Washington Univ., St. Louis, MO (United States). Dept. of Earth and Planetary Sciences
  3. Space Science Inst., Boulder, CO (United States)
  4. California Inst. of Technology (CalTech), Pasadena, CA (United States)
  5. Univ. of Guelph, ON (Canada)
  6. Stony Brook Univ., NY (United States). Dept. of Geosciences
  7. NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX (United States)
  8. Western Washington Univ., Bellingham, WA (United States). Geology Dept.
  9. Arizona State Univ., Tempe, AZ (United States). School of Earth and Space Exploration
  10. Univ. of Western Ontario, London, ON (Canada). Dept. of Earth Sciences
  11. California Inst. of Technology (CalTech), La Canada Flintridge, CA (United States). Jet Propulsion Lab.
  12. Johns Hopkins Univ., Baltimore, MD (United States). Applied Physics Lab.
  13. Univ. Toulouse III - Paul Sabatier (UPS), Toulouse (France). Observatoire Midi-Pyrenees (OMP), Inst. for Research in Astrophysics and Planetology (IRAP)
  14. Malin Space Science Systems, San Diego, CA (United States)
  15. Univ. de Lorraine, Nancy (France). GeoRessources Lab.
  16. Oregon State Univ., Corvallis, OR (United States). College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences
  17. Univ. of Copenhagen (Denmark). The Niels Bohr Inst.
  18. U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis Maryland (United States). Aerospace Engineering
  19. Univ. de Nantes, Nantes (France)
  20. Lulea Univ. of Technology, Kiruna (Sweden). Dept. of Computer Science, Electrical and Space Engineering; Univ. of Granada (Spain). Andalusian Inst. of Earth Sciences (CSIC-UGR)
  21. Purdue Univ., West Lafayette, IN (United States). Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Science
  22. Univ. of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM (United States). Inst. of Meteoritics
  23. Natural History Museum ( IMPMC), Paris (France).
  24. Univ. of New Brunswick, Fredericton NB (Canada). Planetary and Space Science Centre
  25. Lunar and Planetary Inst., Houston Texas (United States)
  26. Planetary Science Inst., Tucson, AZ (United States)
  27. Lulea Univ. of Technology, Kiruna (Sweden). Dept. of Computer Science, Electrical and Space Engineering; Centro de Astrobiologia (CAB), Madrid (Spain)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA); USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1304809
Report Number(s):
LA-UR-15-20086
Journal ID: ISSN 0094-8276
Grant/Contract Number:
AC52-06NA25396
Resource Type:
Journal Article: Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Geophysical Research Letters
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 43; Journal Issue: 14; Journal ID: ISSN 0094-8276
Publisher:
American Geophysical Union
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
36 MATERIALS SCIENCE; 79 ASTRONOMY AND ASTROPHYSICS; Planetary Sciences; Mars, ChemCam, manganese, oxygen, MSL

Citation Formats

Lanza, Nina L., Wiens, Roger C., Arvidson, Raymond E., Clark, Benton C., Fischer, Woodward W., Gellert, Ralf, Grotzinger, John P., Hurowitz, Joel A., McLennan, Scott M., Morris, Richard V., Rice, Melissa S., Bell, III, James F., Berger, Jeffrey A., Blaney, Diana L., Bridges, Nathan T., Calef, III, Fred, Campbell, John L., Clegg, Samuel M., Cousin, Agnes, Edgett, Kenneth S., Fabre, Cécile, Fisk, Martin R., Forni, Olivier, Frydenvang, Jens, Hardy, Keian R., Hardgrove, Craig, Johnson, Jeffrey R., Lasue, Jeremie, Le Mouélic, Stéphane, Malin, Michael C., Mangold, Nicolas, Martìn-Torres, Javier, Maurice, Sylvestre, McBride, Marie J., Ming, Douglas W., Newsom, Horton E., Ollila, Ann M., Sautter, Violaine, Schröder, Susanne, Thompson, Lucy M., Treiman, Allan H., VanBommel, Scott, Vaniman, David T., and Zorzano, Marìa-Paz. Oxidation of manganese in an ancient aquifer, Kimberley formation, Gale crater, Mars. United States: N. p., 2016. Web. doi:10.1002/2016GL069109.
Lanza, Nina L., Wiens, Roger C., Arvidson, Raymond E., Clark, Benton C., Fischer, Woodward W., Gellert, Ralf, Grotzinger, John P., Hurowitz, Joel A., McLennan, Scott M., Morris, Richard V., Rice, Melissa S., Bell, III, James F., Berger, Jeffrey A., Blaney, Diana L., Bridges, Nathan T., Calef, III, Fred, Campbell, John L., Clegg, Samuel M., Cousin, Agnes, Edgett, Kenneth S., Fabre, Cécile, Fisk, Martin R., Forni, Olivier, Frydenvang, Jens, Hardy, Keian R., Hardgrove, Craig, Johnson, Jeffrey R., Lasue, Jeremie, Le Mouélic, Stéphane, Malin, Michael C., Mangold, Nicolas, Martìn-Torres, Javier, Maurice, Sylvestre, McBride, Marie J., Ming, Douglas W., Newsom, Horton E., Ollila, Ann M., Sautter, Violaine, Schröder, Susanne, Thompson, Lucy M., Treiman, Allan H., VanBommel, Scott, Vaniman, David T., & Zorzano, Marìa-Paz. Oxidation of manganese in an ancient aquifer, Kimberley formation, Gale crater, Mars. United States. doi:10.1002/2016GL069109.
Lanza, Nina L., Wiens, Roger C., Arvidson, Raymond E., Clark, Benton C., Fischer, Woodward W., Gellert, Ralf, Grotzinger, John P., Hurowitz, Joel A., McLennan, Scott M., Morris, Richard V., Rice, Melissa S., Bell, III, James F., Berger, Jeffrey A., Blaney, Diana L., Bridges, Nathan T., Calef, III, Fred, Campbell, John L., Clegg, Samuel M., Cousin, Agnes, Edgett, Kenneth S., Fabre, Cécile, Fisk, Martin R., Forni, Olivier, Frydenvang, Jens, Hardy, Keian R., Hardgrove, Craig, Johnson, Jeffrey R., Lasue, Jeremie, Le Mouélic, Stéphane, Malin, Michael C., Mangold, Nicolas, Martìn-Torres, Javier, Maurice, Sylvestre, McBride, Marie J., Ming, Douglas W., Newsom, Horton E., Ollila, Ann M., Sautter, Violaine, Schröder, Susanne, Thompson, Lucy M., Treiman, Allan H., VanBommel, Scott, Vaniman, David T., and Zorzano, Marìa-Paz. 2016. "Oxidation of manganese in an ancient aquifer, Kimberley formation, Gale crater, Mars". United States. doi:10.1002/2016GL069109. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1304809.
@article{osti_1304809,
title = {Oxidation of manganese in an ancient aquifer, Kimberley formation, Gale crater, Mars},
author = {Lanza, Nina L. and Wiens, Roger C. and Arvidson, Raymond E. and Clark, Benton C. and Fischer, Woodward W. and Gellert, Ralf and Grotzinger, John P. and Hurowitz, Joel A. and McLennan, Scott M. and Morris, Richard V. and Rice, Melissa S. and Bell, III, James F. and Berger, Jeffrey A. and Blaney, Diana L. and Bridges, Nathan T. and Calef, III, Fred and Campbell, John L. and Clegg, Samuel M. and Cousin, Agnes and Edgett, Kenneth S. and Fabre, Cécile and Fisk, Martin R. and Forni, Olivier and Frydenvang, Jens and Hardy, Keian R. and Hardgrove, Craig and Johnson, Jeffrey R. and Lasue, Jeremie and Le Mouélic, Stéphane and Malin, Michael C. and Mangold, Nicolas and Martìn-Torres, Javier and Maurice, Sylvestre and McBride, Marie J. and Ming, Douglas W. and Newsom, Horton E. and Ollila, Ann M. and Sautter, Violaine and Schröder, Susanne and Thompson, Lucy M. and Treiman, Allan H. and VanBommel, Scott and Vaniman, David T. and Zorzano, Marìa-Paz},
abstractNote = {We report that the Curiosity rover observed high Mn abundances (>25 wt % MnO) in fracture-filling materials that crosscut sandstones in the Kimberley region of Gale crater, Mars. The correlation between Mn and trace metal abundances plus the lack of correlation between Mn and elements such as S, Cl, and C, reveals that these deposits are Mn oxides rather than evaporites or other salts. On Earth, environments that concentrate Mn and deposit Mn minerals require water and highly oxidizing conditions; hence, these findings suggest that similar processes occurred on Mars. In conclusion, based on the strong association between Mn-oxide deposition and evolving atmospheric dioxygen levels on Earth, the presence of these Mn phases on Mars suggests that there was more abundant molecular oxygen within the atmosphere and some groundwaters of ancient Mars than in the present day.},
doi = {10.1002/2016GL069109},
journal = {Geophysical Research Letters},
number = 14,
volume = 43,
place = {United States},
year = 2016,
month = 7
}

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Cited by: 9works
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  • Zinc-enriched targets have been detected at the Kimberley formation, Gale crater, Mars, using the Chemistry Camera (ChemCam) instrument. The Zn content is analyzed with a univariate calibration based on the 481.2 nm emission line. The limit of quantification for ZnO is 3 wt % (at 95% confidence level) and 1 wt % (at 68% confidence level). The limit of detection is shown to be around 0.5 wt %. As of sol 950, 12 targets on Mars present high ZnO content ranging from 1.0 wt % to 8.4 wt % (Yarrada, sol 628). Those Zn-enriched targets are almost entirely located atmore » the Dillinger member of the Kimberley formation, where high Mn and alkali contents were also detected, probably in different phases. Zn enrichment does not depend on the textures of the rocks (coarse-grained sandstones, pebbly conglomerates, and resistant fins). The lack of sulfur enhancement suggests that Zn is not present in the sphalerite phase. Zn appears somewhat correlated with Na 2O and the ChemCam hydration index, suggesting that it could be in an amorphous clay phase (such as sauconite). On Earth, such an enrichment would be consistent with a supergene alteration of a sphalerite gossan cap in a primary siliciclastic bedrock or a possible hypogene nonsulfide zinc deposition where Zn, Fe, Mn would have been transported in a reduced sulfur-poor fluid and precipitated rapidly in the form of oxides.« less
  • The Windjana drill sample, a sandstone of the Dillinger member (Kimberley formation, Gale Crater, Mars), was analyzed by CheMin X-ray diffraction (XRD) in the MSL Curiosity rover. From Rietveld refinements of its XRD pattern, Windjana contains the following: sanidine (21% weight, ~Or 95); augite (20%); magnetite (12%); pigeonite; olivine; plagioclase; amorphous and smectitic material (~25%); and percent levels of others including ilmenite, fluorapatite, and bassanite. From mass balance on the Alpha Proton X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) chemical analysis, the amorphous material is Fe rich with nearly no other cations—like ferrihydrite. The Windjana sample shows little alteration and was likely cemented bymore » its magnetite and ferrihydrite. From ChemCam Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectrometer (LIBS) chemical analyses, Windjana is representative of the Dillinger and Mount Remarkable members of the Kimberley formation. LIBS data suggest that the Kimberley sediments include at least three chemical components. The most K-rich targets have 5.6% K 2O, ~1.8 times that of Windjana, implying a sediment component with >40% sanidine, e.g., a trachyte. A second component is rich in mafic minerals, with little feldspar (like a shergottite). A third component is richer in plagioclase and in Na 2O, and is likely to be basaltic. The K-rich sediment component is consistent with APXS and ChemCam observations of K-rich rocks elsewhere in Gale Crater. The source of this sediment component was likely volcanic. Finally, the presence of sediment from many igneous sources, in concert with Curiosity's identifications of other igneous materials (e.g., mugearite), implies that the northern rim of Gale Crater exposes a diverse igneous complex, at least as diverse as that found in similar-age terranes on Earth.« less
  • In 2012, NASA’s Curiosity rover landed on Mars to assess its potential as a habitat for past life and investigate the paleoclimate record preserved by sedimentary rocks inside the ~150-kilometer-diameter Gale impact crater. Geological reconstructions from Curiosity rover data have revealed an ancient, habitable lake environment fed by rivers draining into the crater. We synthesize geochemical and mineralogical data from lake-bed mudstones collected during the first 1300 martian solar days of rover operations in Gale. We present evidence for lake redox stratification, established by depth-dependent variations in atmospheric oxidant and dissolved-solute concentrations. Paleoclimate proxy data indicate that a transition frommore » colder to warmer climate conditions is preserved in the stratigraphy. Lastly, a late phase of geochemical modification by saline fluids is recognized.« less
    Cited by 8
  • The Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity found host rocks of basaltic composition and alteration assemblages containing clay minerals at Yellowknife Bay, Gale Crater. On the basis of the observed host rock and alteration minerals, we present results of equilibrium thermochemical modeling of the Sheepbed mudstones of Yellowknife Bay in order to constrain the formation conditions of its secondary mineral assemblage. Building on conclusions from sedimentary observations by the Mars Science Laboratory team, we assume diagenetic, in situ alteration. The modeling shows that the mineral assemblage formed by the reaction of a CO₂-poor and oxidizing, dilute aqueous solution (Gale Portage Water)more » in an open system with the Fe-rich basaltic-composition sedimentary rocks at 10–50°C and water/rock ratio (mass of rock reacted with the starting fluid) of 100–1000, pH of ~7.5–12. Model alteration assemblages predominantly contain phyllosilicates (Fe-smectite, chlorite), the bulk composition of a mixture of which is close to that of saponite inferred from Chemistry and Mineralogy data and to that of saponite observed in the nakhlite Martian meteorites and terrestrial analogues. To match the observed clay mineral chemistry, inhomogeneous dissolution dominated by the amorphous phase and olivine is required. We therefore deduce a dissolving composition of approximately 70% amorphous material, with 20% olivine, and 10% whole rock component.« less
  • The Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity encountered potassium-rich clastic sedimentary rocks at two sites in Gale Crater, the waypoints Cooperstown and Kimberley. These rocks include several distinct meters thick sedimentary outcrops ranging from fine sandstone to conglomerate, interpreted to record an ancient fluvial or fluvio-deltaic depositional system. Furthermore, from ChemCam Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) chemical analyses, this suite of sedimentary rocks has an overall mean K 2O abundance that is more than 5 times higher than that of the average Martian crust. The combined analysis of ChemCam data with stratigraphic and geographic locations then reveals that the mean K 2Omore » abundance increases upward through the stratigraphic section. Chemical analyses across each unit can be represented as mixtures of several distinct chemical components, i.e., mineral phases, including K-bearing minerals, mafic silicates, Fe-oxides, and Fe-hydroxide/oxyhydroxides. Possible K-bearing minerals include alkali feldspar (including anorthoclase and sanidine) and K-bearing phyllosilicate such as illite. Mixtures of different source rocks, including a potassium-rich rock located on the rim and walls of Gale Crater, are the likely origin of observed chemical variations within each unit. Physical sorting may have also played a role in the enrichment in K in the Kimberley formation. The occurrence of these potassic sedimentary rocks provides additional evidence for the chemical diversity of the crust exposed at Gale Crater.« less