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    Formation of an Hesperian-aged sedimentary basin containing phyllosilicates in Coprates Catena, Mars

    Grindrod, Peter M. and West, M. and Warner, N.H. and Gupta, S. (2012) Formation of an Hesperian-aged sedimentary basin containing phyllosilicates in Coprates Catena, Mars. Icarus 218 (1), pp. 178-195. ISSN 0019-1035.

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    The extensive light-toned deposits in canyons and troughs in Valles Marineris provide evidence of formation through water-related processes. As such, these deposits offer a window to past conditions on Mars. We study a small outcrop of light-toned deposits in a closed trough in Coprates Catena, a chain of collapse pits to the south-east of the main Valles Marineris system. A well-exposed sequence of deposits on the base of the north wall of the trough offers a 220. m section for geochemical and morphologic analysis. Using CRISM data we identify the presence of both phyllosilicates and sulfates and/or opaline silica in the light toned deposits, which vary in relative strength with elevation. We observe a trend in the dominant mineralogical signal, with Al phyllosilicates occurring near the base of the deposits, both below and above a band of Fe/Mg phyllosilicates, before a transition to more sulfate- or opaline silica-rich material near the top of the section. This trend likely reflects a change in the chemistry of the water in which the deposits formed. Using a HiRISE Digital Elevation Model, we find that the layers in the light-toned deposits on both sides of the trough dip gently towards the center of the trough, with a dip direction that aligns with the strike of the trough, suggesting that the light-toned deposits formed after the trough. Our general morphologic and mineralogical observations fit well with significant amounts of water in the trough. The deposits are too small to be dated using crater counting techniques, however, our crater analysis suggests that the plains in which the trough formed are probably Late Hesperian in age. If the chemistry of the light-toned deposits reflects the primary depositional mineralogy, then this and other small troughs in Coprates Catena might provide evidence of limited phyllosilicate formation in this region towards the end of the Hesperian era on Mars. © 2011 Elsevier Inc.


    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Mars Surface, Geological processes, Terrestrial planets, Mineralogy, Spectroscopy
    School: School of Science > Earth and Planetary Sciences > UCL/Birkbeck Centre for Planetary Sciences
    School of Science > Earth and Planetary Sciences
    Depositing User: Dr Peter Grindrod
    Date Deposited: 26 Aug 2015 11:43
    Last Modified: 16 Jun 2021 04:41


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