Clay and magnetite formation at Yellowknife Bay, Mars

Bridges, J. C.; Schwenzer, S. P.; Leveille, R.; Westall, F.; Wiens, R. C.; Mangold, N.; Bristow, T.; Edwards, P. and Berger, G. (2014). Clay and magnetite formation at Yellowknife Bay, Mars. In: 77th Annual Meteoritical Society Meeting (2014), 8-13 Sep 2014, Casablanca, Morocco.



The Curiosity Rover of Mars Science Laboratory, has analysed a set of mudstones at the Yellowknife Bay locality of Gale Crater, that record a history of deposition within a habitable, fluvio-lacustrine environment followed by low T alteration. The composition and mineralogical information preserved in the sediments provide a unique opportunity to determine the nature of the environment. In particular we aim to constrain the mineral reactions, Water/Rock ratios, pH, and redox associated with the saponite-, magnetite-bearing assemblage identified by CheMin in the Sheepbed mudstone and compare to martian clay compositions in the Lafayette nakhlite. The presence of cm-scale ridges, which have a more Mg-rich compo-sition than the surrounding mudstone, suggest that the diagenetic fluids changed in composition as alteration progressed. An important factor in our alteration model is the presence of amorphous material and olivine, together with secondary phases in the drilled samples.

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