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The Todilto Formation as an analog of short-lived Martian flood evaporites

By
David Vaniman
David Vaniman
1 Earth and Environmental Sciences, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico 87545, USA
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Steve Chipera
Steve Chipera
2 Chesapeake Energy Corporation, 6100 North Western Avenue, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73118, USA
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Kari Brownholland
Kari Brownholland
3 Centenary College of Louisiana, 2911 Centenary Boulevard, Shreveport, Louisiana 71104, USA
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David Bish
David Bish
4 Department of Geological Sciences, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana 47405, USA
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Published:
December 01, 2011

The Jurassic Todilto Formation of NW New Mexico and SW Colorado, USA, has utility as an analog of Martian flood evaporites. The Todilto Formation is a concentrically and vertically zoned carbonate (calcite with minor late dolomite) to sulfate (gypsum) evaporite deposit that developed over a short time span (104–105 yr) after rapid flooding of the vast dune field of the Entrada Formation. Within the limits of the very different hydrogeologic environments of Mars and Earth, the Todilto setting of short-lived brine evolution in a largely eolian environment, with terminal formation of a salt hydrate common to both planets (gypsum), provides a useful field area for descriptive and petrogenetic studies of evaporite evolution and interaction with a porous, sandy substrate. The Todilto Formation has an added feature of interest in its association with bituminous materials that have likely microbial precursors, providing a brine-microorganism association that may represent a potential setting for primitive life as might be found on Mars.

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Contents

GSA Special Papers

Analogs for Planetary Exploration

W. Brent Garry
W. Brent Garry
Planetary Science Institute, Tucson, Arizona, USA
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Jacob E. Bleacher
Jacob E. Bleacher
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Planetary Geodynamics Lab, Greenbelt, Maryland, USA
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Geological Society of America
Volume
483
ISBN print:
9780813724836
Publication date:
December 01, 2011

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