Increasing occurrence of sandstone cemented with calcium sulfate on Mount Sharp, Gale Crater, Mars

Newsom, H. E.; Jackson, R.; Wiens, R. C.; Frydenvang, J.; Gasada, P.; Lanza, N.; Ollila, A.; Clegg, S.; Gasnault, O.; Maurice, S.; Meslin, P.-Y.; Cousin, A.; Rapin, W.; Lasue, J.; Forni, O.; L'Harridon, J.; Banham, S.; Gupta, S.; Cohen, B.; Schieber, J.; Schwenzer, S. P.; Grotzinger, J.; Blaney, D.; Schroeder, J.; Calef, F.; Francis, R.; Ehlman, B.; Thomas, N.; Stein, N.; Watkinss, J.; Rubin, D.; Bridges, N.; Johnson, J.; Payre, V.; Mangold, N.; LeDeit, L.; Edgett, K.; Fey, D.; Gellert, R.; Thompson, L.; Schmidt, M.; Perrett, G.; Kah, L.; Kronyak, R.; Anderson, R.; Herkenhoff, K. and Bridges, J. (2017). Increasing occurrence of sandstone cemented with calcium sulfate on Mount Sharp, Gale Crater, Mars. In: 48th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, 20-24 Mar 2017, Houston.

URL: http://www.hou.usra.edu/meetings/lpsc2017/pdf/2495...

Abstract

The Mars Science Laboratory Rover Curiosity has observed calcium sulfate veins in all of the bedrock examined to date in Gale Crater, with the exception of the Bradbury Rise area. The veins are also ubiquitous in the Murray Formation, which is interpreted as fine-grain mudstone. But recently when the rover reached the Murray Buttes on the lower slopes of Mount Sharp, the presence of light-toned rocks with moderate CaO have been observed, suggesting the presence of a cementd porous sandstone. The substantial increase in ChemCam analyses consistent with cemented sandstone (instead of mudstone), along with changes in other sedimentary structures may signal a change in the depositional environment and/or provenance of the lake deposits.

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