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Evolution of a lake margin recorded in the Sutton Island member of the Murray formation, Gale crater, Mars

January 11, 2024

This study uses data from the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover to document the facies of the Sutton Island member of the Murray formation, interpret paleoenvironments, and establish key stratigraphic transitions at Gale crater. Two facies associations were identified: Facies Association 1 (FA1) and Facies Association 2 (FA2). Individual facies in FA1 include planar-laminated mudstone with minor intervals of planar sandstone, ripple cross-laminated sandstone, cross-stratified sandstone, and alternating laminated sandstone and mudstone. Meter-thick packages of planar-laminated mudstone in FA1 are interpreted to represent deposition in low-energy ponded environments along the lake margin. Straight- and curve-crested ripple cross-laminated facies are interpreted to represent current-influenced deposition. Cross-stratified sandstone facies consist of dm-thick sets that represent deposition in distal channels. Intercalated mm-scale mudstone and sandstone laminae represent waning flow conditions and possible channel abandonment. Facies in FA1 collectively represent deposition in a distal delta plain. FA2 is comprised of planar-laminated mudstone with minor sandstone and is interpreted to represent deposition in a lacustrine-basin setting by suspension settling linked to density flows. FA1 transitions upward into FA2, defining a rapid transgression substantial enough to facilitate the deposition of distal lake facies above delta plain facies. The abrupt transition from FA2 back to FA1 deltaic deposits is suggestive of forced regression. Facies in FA1 and FA2 are consistent with the prevalence of aqueous environments recorded in other Murray formation members and extend our understanding of the dynamic sedimentary processes that characterized ancient lacustrine systems at Gale crater.

Publication Year 2024
Title Evolution of a lake margin recorded in the Sutton Island member of the Murray formation, Gale crater, Mars
DOI 10.1029/2023JE007919
Authors Samantha Gwizd, Christopher M. Fedo, John P. Grotzinger, Steve G. Banham, Frances Rivera-Hernandez, Sanjeev Gupta, Kathryn M. Stack, Lauren A. Edgar, Ashwin R. Vasavada, Joel M. Davis, Linda C. Kah
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of Geophysical Research - Planets
Index ID 70251382
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Astrogeology Science Center