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Basalt-trachybasalt samples in Gale Crater, Mars

Edwards, Peter H.; Bridges, John C.; Wiens, Roger; Anderson, Ryan; Dyar, Darby; Fisk, Martin; Thompson, Lucy; Gasda, Patrick; Filiberto, Justin; Schwenzer, Susanne P.; Blaney, Diana and Hutchinson, Ian (2017). Basalt-trachybasalt samples in Gale Crater, Mars. Meteoritics & Planetary Science, 52(11) pp. 2391–2410.

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DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link: https://doi.org/10.1111/maps.12953
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Abstract

The ChemCam instrument on the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) rover, Curiosity, observed numerous igneous float rocks and conglomerate clasts, reported previously. A new statistical analysis of single-laser-shot spectra of igneous targets observed by ChemCam shows a strong peak at ~55 wt% SiO2 and 6 wt% total alkalis, with a minor secondary maximum at 47–51 wt% SiO2 and lower alkali content. The centers of these distributions, together with the rock textures, indicate that many of the ChemCam igneous targets are trachybasalts, Mg#=27 but with a secondary concentration of basaltic material,with a focus of compositions around Mg#=54. We suggest that all of these igneous rocks resulted from low-pressure, olivine-dominated fractionation of Adirondack (MER) class-type basalt compositions. This magmatism has subalkaline, tholeiitic affinities. The similarity of the basalt endmember to much of the Gale sediment compositions in the first 1000 sols of the MSL mission suggests that this type of Fe-rich, relatively low-Mg#, olivine tholeiite is the dominant constituent of the Gale catchment that is the source material for the fine-grained sediments in Gale. The similarity to many Gusev igneous compositions suggests that it is a major constituent of ancient Martian magmas, and distinct from the shergottite parental melts thought to be associated with Tharsis and the Northern Lowlands. The Gale Crater catchment sampled a mixture of this tholeiitic basalt along with alkaline igneous material, together giving some analogies to terrestrial intraplate magmatic provinces.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2017 The Authors Meteoritics & Planetary Science
ISSN: 1945-5100
Project Funding Details:
Funded Project NameProject IDFunding Body
Support for Mars Science Laboratory OperationsST/P002110/1UKSA UK Space Agency
Keywords: Mars Science Laboratory; ChemCam; trachybasalt; magmatic composition
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) > Environment, Earth and Ecosystem Sciences
Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)
Research Group: Space
Item ID: 52290
Depositing User: Susanne Schwenzer
Date Deposited: 15 Nov 2017 14:28
Last Modified: 21 Dec 2017 14:50
URI: http://oro.open.ac.uk/id/eprint/52290
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