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Title: Chemistry, Mineralogy, and Grain Properties at Namib and High Dunes, Bagnold Dune Field, Gale Crater, Mars: A Synthesis of Curiosity Rover Observations: Bagnold Dune Sands Composition

The Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover performed coordinated measurements to examine the textures and compositions of aeolian sands in the active Bagnold dune field. The Bagnold sands are rounded to subrounded, very fine- to medium- sized (~45-500 µm) with ≥6 distinct grain colors. In contrast to sands examined by Curiosity in a dust-covered, inactive bedform called Rocknest and soils at other landing sites, Bagnold sands are darker, less red, better sorted, have fewer silt-sized or smaller grains, and show no evidence for cohesion. Nonetheless, Bagnold mineralogy and Rocknest mineralogy are similar with plagioclase, olivine, and pyroxenes in similar proportions comprising >90% of crystalline phases, along with a substantial amorphous component (35% ± 15%). Yet, Bagnold and Rocknest bulk chemistry differ. Bagnold sands are Si-enriched relative to other soils at Gale crater, and H 2O, S, and Cl are lower relative to all previously measured martian soils and most Gale crater rocks. Mg, Ni, Fe, and Mn are enriched in the coarse-sieved fraction of Bagnold sands, corroborated by VNIR spectra that suggest enrichment of olivine. Together, patterns in major element chemistry and volatile release data indicate two distinctive volatile reservoirs in martian soils: (1) amorphous components in the sand-sized fraction (representedmore » by Bagnold) that are Si-enriched, hydroxylated alteration products and/or impact or volcanic glasses; and (2) amorphous components in the fine fraction (<40 µm; represented by Rocknest and other bright soils) that are Fe-, S-, and Cl-enriched with low Si and adsorbed and structural H 2O.« less
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  1. California Inst. of Technology (CalTech), Pasadena, CA (United States). Jet Propulsion Lab.
  2. Malin Space Science Systems, San Diego, CA (United States)
  3. Jacobs Technology, Houston, TX (United States); NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX (United States)
  4. Univ. of Arizona, Tucson, AZ (United States). Dept. of Geosciences
  5. Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS), Moscow (Russian Federation). Space Research Inst.
  6. California Inst. of Technology (CalTech), Pasadena, CA (United States)
  7. Cornell Univ., Ithaca, NY (United States). Cornell Center for Astrophysics and Planetary Sciences
  8. Washington Univ., St. Louis, MO (United States). Dept. of Earth and Planetary Sciences
  9. NASA Ames Research Center (ARC), Moffett Field, CA (United States). Exobiology Branch
  10. Johns Hopkins Univ., Laurel, MD (United States)
  11. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), Greenbelt, MD (United States)
  12. Univ. of Toulouse (France). Inst. for Research in Astrophysics and Planetology (IRAP)
  13. Arizona State Univ., Tempe, AZ (United States). School of Earth and Space Exploration
  14. Univ. of Guelph, ON (Canada)
  15. Southwest Research Inst. (SwRI), San Antonio, TX (United States). Dept. of Space Science
  16. Univ. of Toulouse (France). Inst. for Research in Astrophysics and Planetology (IRAP), Midi-Pyrenees Observatory
  17. NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX (United States)
  18. Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel MD USA
  19. Univ. of New Brunswick, Fredericton NB (Canada). Planetary and Space Science Centre
  20. Univ. of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI (United States). Dept. of Geology and Geophysics
  21. Inst. for Research in Astrophysics and Planetology (IRAP), Toulouse (France); German Aerospace Center (DLR), Berlin (Germany). Inst. of Optical Sensor Systems
  22. Stony Brook Univ., NY (United States). Dept. of Geosciences
  23. Planetary Science Inst., Tucson AZ (United States)
  24. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 2169-9097
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Journal of Geophysical Research. Planets
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 122; Journal Issue: 12; Journal ID: ISSN 2169-9097
American Geophysical Union
Research Org:
Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE; National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Country of Publication:
United States
58 GEOSCIENCES; Planetary Sciences
OSTI Identifier: