Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

High manganese concentrations in rocks at Gale crater, Mars

August 1, 2014

The surface of Mars has long been considered a relatively oxidizing environment, an idea supported by the abundance of ferric iron phases observed there. However, compared to iron, manganese is sensitive only to high redox potential oxidants, and when concentrated in rocks, it provides a more specific redox indicator of aqueous environments. Observations from the ChemCam instrument on the Curiosity rover indicate abundances of manganese in and on some rock targets that are 1–2 orders of magnitude higher than previously observed on Mars, suggesting the presence of an as-yet unidentified manganese-rich phase. These results show that the Martian surface has at some point in time hosted much more highly oxidizing conditions than has previously been recognized.

Publication Year 2014
Title High manganese concentrations in rocks at Gale crater, Mars
DOI 10.1002/2014GL060329
Authors Nina L. Lanza, Woodward W. Fischer, Roger C. Wiens, John P. Grotzinger, Ann M. Ollila, Ryan B. Anderson, Benton C. Clark, Ralf Gellert, Nicolas Mangold, Sylvestre Maurice, Stéphane Le Mouélic, Marion Nachon, Mariek E. Schmidt, Jeffrey Berger, Samuel M. Clegg, Olivier Forni, Craig Hardgrove, Noureddine Melikechi, Horton E. Newsom, Violaine Sautter
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Geophysical Research Letters
Index ID 70146534
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Astrogeology Science Center