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Science. 2017 Jun 2;356(6341). pii: eaah6849. doi: 10.1126/science.aah6849. Epub 2017 Jun 1.

Redox stratification of an ancient lake in Gale crater, Mars.

Author information

1
Department of Geosciences, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY 11794-2100, USA. joel.hurowitz@stonybrook.edu.
2
Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125, USA.
3
Department of Geosciences, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY 11794-2100, USA.
4
Department of Geological Sciences, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912, USA.
5
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91109, USA.
6
Department of Space Sciences, NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA 94035, USA.
7
Institut de Recherche en Astrophysique et Planétologie, University Paul Sabatier, 31028 Toulouse, France.
8
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771, USA.
9
Centro de Astrobiología, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas-Instituto Nacional de Técnica Aeroespacial (CSIC-INTA), 28850 Madrid, Spain.
10
Department of Astronomy, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA.
11
Space Remote Sensing, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM 87544, USA.
12
University of Copenhagen, 1350 Copenhagen, Denmark.
13
Department of Physics, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario N1G 2W1, Canada.
14
Center for Earth and Planetary Studies, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC 20560, USA.
15
Department of Earth Science and Engineering, Imperial College London, London SW7 2AZ, UK.
16
U.S. Geological Survey, Flagstaff, AZ 86001, USA.
17
Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science Division, NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX 77058, USA.
18
NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX 77058, USA.
19
Department of Earth Sciences, Brock University, St. Catharines, Ontario L2S 3A1, Canada.
20
Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, University of California-Davis, Davis, CA 95616, USA.

Abstract

In 2012, NASA's Curiosity rover landed on Mars to assess its potential as a habitat for past life and investigate the paleoclimate record preserved by sedimentary rocks inside the ~150-kilometer-diameter Gale impact crater. Geological reconstructions from Curiosity rover data have revealed an ancient, habitable lake environment fed by rivers draining into the crater. We synthesize geochemical and mineralogical data from lake-bed mudstones collected during the first 1300 martian solar days of rover operations in Gale. We present evidence for lake redox stratification, established by depth-dependent variations in atmospheric oxidant and dissolved-solute concentrations. Paleoclimate proxy data indicate that a transition from colder to warmer climate conditions is preserved in the stratigraphy. Finally, a late phase of geochemical modification by saline fluids is recognized.

PMID:
28572336
DOI:
10.1126/science.aah6849
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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