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Title: Classification of igneous rocks analyzed by ChemCam at Gale crater, Mars

Abstract

Several recent studies have revealed that Mars is not a simple basalt-covered planet, but has a more complex geological history. In Gale crater on Mars, the Curiosity rover discovered 59 igneous rocks. This article focuses on their textures (acquired from the cameras such as MAHLI and MastCam) and their geochemical compositions that have been obtained using the ChemCam instrument. Light-toned crystals have been observed in most of the rocks. They correspond to feldspars ranging from andesines/oligoclases to anorthoclases and sanidines in the leucocratic vesiculated rocks. Darker crystals observed in all igneous rocks (except the leucocratic vesiculated ones) were analyzed by LIBS and mainly identified as Fe-rich pigeonites and Fe-augites. Iron oxides have been observed in all groups whereas F-bearing minerals have been detected only in few of them. From their textural analysis and their whole-rock compositions, all these 59 igneous rocks have been classified in five different groups; from primitive rocks i.e. dark aphanitic basalts/basanites, trachybasalts, tephrites and fine/coarse-grained gabbros/norites to more evolved materials i.e. porphyritic trachyandesites, leucocratic trachytes and quartz-diorites. The basalts and gabbros are found all along the traverse of the rover, whereas the felsic rocks are located before the Kimberley formation, i.e. close to the Peace Vallismore » alluvial fan deposits. This suggests that these alkali rocks have been transported by fluvial activity and could come from the Northern rim of the crater, and may correspond to deeper strata buried under basaltic regolith (Sautter et al., 2015). Some of the basaltic igneous rocks are surprisingly enriched in iron, presenting low Mg# similar to the nakhlite parental melt that cannot be produced by direct melting of the Dreibus and Wanke (1986) martian primitive mantle. The basaltic rocks at Gale are thus different from Gusev basalts. They could originate from different mantle reservoirs, or they could have undergone a more extensive fractional crystallization. Lastly, Gale basaltic rocks could have been the parental magma of residual liquid extending into alkali field towards trachyte composition as magma fractionated under anhydrous condition on its way to the surface before sub adiabatic ascent.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [2];  [3];  [1];  [4];  [1];  [4];  [5];  [1];  [6];  [7];  [7];  [1]
  1. Institut de Recherche en Astrophysique et Planetologie, (IRAP), Toulouse (France)
  2. Institut de Mineralogie, de Physique des Materiaux et de Cosmochimie (IMPMC), Paris (France)
  3. Univ. de Lorraine, Nancy (France)
  4. Univ. de Nantes, Nantes (France). Laboratoire de Planetologie et Geophysique de Nantes
  5. Johns Hopkins Univ., Laurel, MD (United States). Applied Physics Lab.
  6. Univ. of Michigan, Dearborn, MI (United States)
  7. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
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:
1412900
Report Number(s):
LA-UR-17-27692
Journal ID: ISSN 0019-1035
Grant/Contract Number:
AC52-06NA25396
Resource Type:
Journal Article: Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Icarus
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 288; Journal Issue: C; Journal ID: ISSN 0019-1035
Publisher:
Elsevier
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
58 GEOSCIENCES; Planetary Sciences; igneous rocks; magmatic

Citation Formats

Cousin, Agnes, Sautter, Violaine, Payré, Valérie, Forni, Olivier, Mangold, Nicolas, Gasnault, Olivier, Le Deit, Laetitia, Johnson, Jeff, Maurice, Sylvestre, Salvatore, Mark, Wiens, Roger C., Gasda, Patrick, and Rapin, William. Classification of igneous rocks analyzed by ChemCam at Gale crater, Mars. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2017.01.014.
Cousin, Agnes, Sautter, Violaine, Payré, Valérie, Forni, Olivier, Mangold, Nicolas, Gasnault, Olivier, Le Deit, Laetitia, Johnson, Jeff, Maurice, Sylvestre, Salvatore, Mark, Wiens, Roger C., Gasda, Patrick, & Rapin, William. Classification of igneous rocks analyzed by ChemCam at Gale crater, Mars. United States. doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2017.01.014.
Cousin, Agnes, Sautter, Violaine, Payré, Valérie, Forni, Olivier, Mangold, Nicolas, Gasnault, Olivier, Le Deit, Laetitia, Johnson, Jeff, Maurice, Sylvestre, Salvatore, Mark, Wiens, Roger C., Gasda, Patrick, and Rapin, William. Thu . "Classification of igneous rocks analyzed by ChemCam at Gale crater, Mars". United States. doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2017.01.014. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1412900.
@article{osti_1412900,
title = {Classification of igneous rocks analyzed by ChemCam at Gale crater, Mars},
author = {Cousin, Agnes and Sautter, Violaine and Payré, Valérie and Forni, Olivier and Mangold, Nicolas and Gasnault, Olivier and Le Deit, Laetitia and Johnson, Jeff and Maurice, Sylvestre and Salvatore, Mark and Wiens, Roger C. and Gasda, Patrick and Rapin, William},
abstractNote = {Several recent studies have revealed that Mars is not a simple basalt-covered planet, but has a more complex geological history. In Gale crater on Mars, the Curiosity rover discovered 59 igneous rocks. This article focuses on their textures (acquired from the cameras such as MAHLI and MastCam) and their geochemical compositions that have been obtained using the ChemCam instrument. Light-toned crystals have been observed in most of the rocks. They correspond to feldspars ranging from andesines/oligoclases to anorthoclases and sanidines in the leucocratic vesiculated rocks. Darker crystals observed in all igneous rocks (except the leucocratic vesiculated ones) were analyzed by LIBS and mainly identified as Fe-rich pigeonites and Fe-augites. Iron oxides have been observed in all groups whereas F-bearing minerals have been detected only in few of them. From their textural analysis and their whole-rock compositions, all these 59 igneous rocks have been classified in five different groups; from primitive rocks i.e. dark aphanitic basalts/basanites, trachybasalts, tephrites and fine/coarse-grained gabbros/norites to more evolved materials i.e. porphyritic trachyandesites, leucocratic trachytes and quartz-diorites. The basalts and gabbros are found all along the traverse of the rover, whereas the felsic rocks are located before the Kimberley formation, i.e. close to the Peace Vallis alluvial fan deposits. This suggests that these alkali rocks have been transported by fluvial activity and could come from the Northern rim of the crater, and may correspond to deeper strata buried under basaltic regolith (Sautter et al., 2015). Some of the basaltic igneous rocks are surprisingly enriched in iron, presenting low Mg# similar to the nakhlite parental melt that cannot be produced by direct melting of the Dreibus and Wanke (1986) martian primitive mantle. The basaltic rocks at Gale are thus different from Gusev basalts. They could originate from different mantle reservoirs, or they could have undergone a more extensive fractional crystallization. Lastly, Gale basaltic rocks could have been the parental magma of residual liquid extending into alkali field towards trachyte composition as magma fractionated under anhydrous condition on its way to the surface before sub adiabatic ascent.},
doi = {10.1016/j.icarus.2017.01.014},
journal = {Icarus},
number = C,
volume = 288,
place = {United States},
year = {Thu Feb 09 00:00:00 EST 2017},
month = {Thu Feb 09 00:00:00 EST 2017}
}

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  • 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
  • Rocks analyzed by the Curiosity rover in Gale crater include a variety of clastic sedimentary rocks and igneous float rocks transported by fluvial and impact processes. Here, to facilitate the discussion of the range of lithologies, we present in this article a petrological classification framework adapting terrestrial classification schemes to Mars compositions (such as Fe abundances typically higher than for comparable lithologies on Earth), to specific Curiosity observations (such as common alkali-rich rocks), and to the capabilities of the rover instruments. Mineralogy was acquired only locally for a few drilled rocks, and so it does not suffice as a systematicmore » classification tool, in contrast to classical terrestrial rock classification. The core of this classification involves (1) the characterization of rock texture as sedimentary, igneous or undefined according to grain/crystal sizes and shapes using imaging from the ChemCam Remote Micro-Imager (RMI), Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) and Mastcam instruments, and (2) the assignment of geochemical modifiers based on the abundances of Fe, Si, alkali, and S determined by the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) and ChemCam instruments. The aims are to help understand Gale crater geology by highlighting the various categories of rocks analyzed by the rover. Several implications are proposed from the cross-comparisons of rocks of various texture and composition, for instance between in place outcrops and float rocks. All outcrops analyzed by the rover are sedimentary; no igneous outcrops have been observed. However, some igneous rocks are clasts in conglomerates, suggesting that part of them are derived from the crater rim. The compositions of in-place sedimentary rocks contrast significantly with the compositions of igneous float rocks. While some of the differences between sedimentary rocks and igneous floats may be related to physical sorting and diagenesis of the sediments, some of the sedimentary rocks (e.g., potassic rocks) cannot be paired with any igneous rocks analyzed so far. Finally, in contrast, many float rocks, which cannot be classified from their poorly defined texture, plot on chemistry diagrams close to float rocks defined as igneous from their textures, potentially constraining their nature.« less
  • The Curiosity rover's campaign at Pahrump Hills provides the first analyses of lower Mount Sharp strata. We report ChemCam elemental composition of a diverse assemblage of post-depositional features embedded in, or cross-cutting, the host rock. ChemCam results demonstrate their compositional diversity, especially compared to the surrounding host rock: (i) Dendritic aggregates and relief enhanced features, characterized by a magnesium enhancement and sulfur detection, and interpreted as Mg-sulfates; (ii) A localized observation that displays iron enrichment associated with sulfur, interpreted as Fe-sulfate; (iii) Dark raised ridges with varying Mg- and Ca-enriched compositions compared to host rock; (iv) Several dark-toned veins withmore » calcium enhancement associated with fluorine detection, interpreted as fluorite veins. (v) Light-toned veins with enhanced calcium associated with sulfur detection, and interpreted as Ca-sulfates. The diversity of the Pahrump Hills diagenetic assemblage suggests a complex post-depositional history for fine-grained sediments for which the origin has been interpreted as fluvial and lacustrine. Assessment of the spatial and relative temporal distribution of these features shows that the Mg-sulfate features are predominant in the lower part of the section, suggesting local modification of the sediments by early diagenetic fluids. Conversely, light-toned Ca-sulfate veins occur in the whole section and cross-cut all other features. A relatively late stage shift in geochemical conditions could explain this observation. The Pahrump Hills diagenetic features have no equivalent compared to targets analyzed in other locations at Gale crater. Only the light-toned Ca-sulfate veins are present elsewhere, along Curiosity's path, suggesting they formed through a common late-stage process that occurred at over a broad area.« less
    Cited by 12
  • At Gale crater, Mars, ChemCam acquired its first laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) target on Sol 13 of the landed portion of the mission (a Sol is a Mars day).
  • Relative reflectace point spectra (400–840 nm) were acquired by the Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) instrument on the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) rover Curiosity in passive mode (no laser) of drill tailings and broken rock fragments near the rover as it entered the lower reaches of Mt. Sharp and of landforms at distances of 2–8 km. Freshly disturbed surfaces are less subject to the spectral masking effects of dust, and revealed spectral features consistent with the presence of iron oxides and ferric sulfates. Here, we present the first detection on Mars of a ~433 nm absorption band consistent with small abundancesmore » of ferric sulfates, corroborated by jarosite detections by the Chemistry and Mineralogy (CheMin) X-ray diffraction instrument in the Mojave, Telegraph Peak, and Confidence Hills drilled samples. The disturbed materials near the Bonanza King region also exhibited strong 433 nm bands and negative near-infrared spectral slopes consistent with jarosite. ChemCam passive spectra of the Confidence Hills and Mojave drill tailings showed features suggestive of the crystalline hematite identified by CheMin analyses. The Windjana drill sample tailings exhibited flat, low relative reflectance spectra, explained by the occurrence of magnetite detected by CheMin. Passive spectra of Bonanza King were similar, suggesting the presence of spectrally dark and neutral minerals such as magnetite. Long-distance spectra of the “Hematite Ridge” feature (3–5 km from the rover) exhibited features consistent with crystalline hematite. The Bagnold dune field north of the Hematite Ridge area exhibited low relative reflectance and near-infrared features indicative of basaltic materials (olivine, pyroxene). Light-toned layers south of Hematite Ridge lacked distinct spectral features in the 400–840 nm region, and may represent portions of nearby clay minerals and sulfates mapped with orbital near-infrared observations. The presence of ferric sulfates such as jarosite in the drill tailings suggests a relatively acidic environment, likely associated with flow of iron-bearing fluids, associated oxidation, and/or hydrothermal leaching of sedimentary rocks. Combined with other remote sensing data sets, mineralogical constraints from ChemCam passive spectra will continue to play an important role in interpreting the mineralogy and composition of materials encountered as Curiosity traverses further south within the basal layers of the Mt. Sharp complex.« less