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An integrated view of the chemistry and mineralogy of martian soils

January 1, 2005

The mineralogical and elemental compositions of the martian soil are indicators of chemical and physical weathering processes. Using data from the Mars Exploration Rovers, we show that bright dust deposits on opposite sides of the planet are part of a global unit and not dominated by the composition of local rocks. Dark soil deposits at both sites have similar basaltic mineralogies, and could reflect either a global component or the general similarity in the compositions of the rocks from which they were derived. Increased levels of bromine are consistent with mobilization of soluble salts by thin films of liquid water, but the presence of olivine in analysed soil samples indicates that the extent of aqueous alteration of soils has been limited. Nickel abundances are enhanced at the immediate surface and indicate that the upper few millimetres of soil could contain up to one per cent meteoritic material.

Publication Year 2005
Title An integrated view of the chemistry and mineralogy of martian soils
DOI 10.1038/nature03637
Authors A. S. Yen, Ralf Gellert, C. Schroder, R.V. Morris, J.F. Bell, A.T. Knudson, B. C. Clark, D. W. Ming, J.A. Crisp, R. E. Arvidson, D. Blaney, J. Brückner, P. R. Christensen, D.J. DesMarais, P.A. De Souza, T.E. Economou, A. Ghosh, B.C. Hahn, Kenneth E. Herkenhoff, L.A. Haskin, J.A. Hurowitz, B.L. Joliff, J. R. Johnson, G. Klingelhofer, M.B. Madsen, S. M. McLennan, H.Y. McSween, L. Richter, R. Rieder, D. Rodionov, Laurence A. Soderblom, S. W. Squyres, N.J. Tosca, A. Wang, M. Wyatt, J. Zipfel
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Nature
Index ID 70029665
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Astrogeology Science Center