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Evidence for a Noachian-aged ephemeral lake in Gusev Crater, Mars

Steven W. Ruff, Paul B. Niles, Fabrizio Alfano and Amanda B. Clarke
Evidence for a Noachian-aged ephemeral lake in Gusev Crater, Mars
Geology (Boulder) (February 2014) 42 (4): 359-362


Gusev crater has long been considered the site of a lake early in Martian history, but the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit found no apparent evidence of lake deposits along its 7 km traverse from 2004 to 2010. Although outcrops rich in Mg-Fe carbonate, dubbed Comanche, were discovered in the Noachian-aged Columbia Hills, they were inferred to result from volcanic hydrothermal activity. We now find evidence that the alteration of the Comanche outcrops is consistent with evaporative precipitation of low-temperature, near-surface solutions derived from limited water-rock interaction with rocks equivalent to nearby outcrops called Algonquin. Additional observations show that the Algonquin outcrops are remnants of volcanic tephra that covered the Columbia Hills and adjacent plains well before emplacement of basalt flows onto the floor of Gusev crater. Water-limited leaching of formerly widespread Algonquin-like tephra deposits by ephemeral waters, followed by transport and evaporative precipitation of the fluids into the Comanche outcrops, can explain their chemical, mineralogical, and textural characteristics.

ISSN: 0091-7613
EISSN: 1943-2682
Serial Title: Geology (Boulder)
Serial Volume: 42
Serial Issue: 4
Title: Evidence for a Noachian-aged ephemeral lake in Gusev Crater, Mars
Affiliation: Arizona State University, School of Earth and Space Exploration, Tempe, AZ, United States
Pages: 359-362
Published: 20140225
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of America (GSA), Boulder, CO, United States
References: 23
Accession Number: 2014-024141
Categories: Extraterrestrial geology
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Annotation: 1 GSA Data Repository item 2014134
Illustration Description: illus. incl. sketch map
Secondary Affiliation: NASA, USA, United States
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2022, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data from GeoScienceWorld, Alexandria, VA, United States. Reference includes data supplied by the Geological Society of America, Boulder, CO, United States
Update Code: 201415
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