The origin and implications of clay minerals from Yellowknife Bay, Gale crater, Mars

Thomas F. Bristow, David L. Bish, David T. Vaniman, Richard V. Morris, David F. Blake, John P. Grotzinger, Elizabeth B. Rampe, Joy A. Crisp, Cherie N. Achilles, Doug W. Ming, Bethany L. Ehlmann, Penelope L. King, John C. Bridges, Jennifer L. Eigenbrode, Dawn Y. Sumner, Steve J. Chipera, John Michael Moorokian, Allan H. Treiman, Shaunna M. Morrison, Robert T Downs & 6 others Jack D. Farmer, David Des Marais, Philippe Sarrazin, Melissa M. Floyd, Michael A. Mischna, Amy C. McAdam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

61 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) rover Curiosity has documented a section of fluvio-lacustrine strata at Yellowknife Bay (YKB), an embayment on the floor of Gale crater, approximately 500 m east of the Bradbury landing site. X-ray diffraction (XRD) data and evolved gas analysis (EGA) data from the CheMin and SAM instruments show that two powdered mudstone samples (named John Klein and Cumberland) drilled from the Sheepbed member of this succession contain up to ∼20 wt% clay minerals. A trioctahedral smectite, likely a ferrian saponite, is the only clay mineral phase detected in these samples. Smectites of the two samples exhibit different 001 spacing under the low partial pressures of H<inf>2</inf>O inside the CheMin instrument (relative humidity <1%). Smectite interlayers in John Klein collapsed sometime between clay mineral formation and the time of analysis to a basal spacing of 10 Å, but largely remain open in the Cumberland sample with a basal spacing of ∼13.2 Å. Partial intercalation of Cumberland smectites by metal-hydroxyl groups, a common process in certain pedogenic and lacustrine settings on Earth, is our favored explanation for these differences. The relatively low abundances of olivine and enriched levels of magnetite in the Sheepbed mudstone, when compared with regional basalt compositions derived from orbital data, suggest that clay minerals formed with magnetite in situ via aqueous alteration of olivine. Mass-balance calculations are permissive of such a reaction. Moreover, the Sheepbed mudstone mineral assemblage is consistent with minimal inputs of detrital clay minerals from the crater walls and rim. Early diagenetic fabrics suggest clay mineral formation prior to lithification. Thermodynamic modeling indicates that the production of authigenic magnetite and saponite at surficial temperatures requires a moderate supply of oxidants, allowing circum-neutral pH. The kinetics of olivine alteration suggest the presence of fluids for thousands to hundreds of thousands of years. Mineralogical evidence of the persistence of benign aqueous conditions at YKB for extended periods indicates a potentially habitable environment where life could establish itself. Mediated oxidation of Fe<sup>2+</sup> in olivine to Fe<sup>3+</sup> in magnetite, and perhaps in smectites provided a potential energy source for organisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)824-836
Number of pages13
JournalAmerican Mineralogist
Volume100
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2015

Fingerprint

Mars craters
montmorillonite
Clay minerals
smectite
clays
crater
clay mineral
Mars
minerals
Ferrosoferric Oxide
saponite
landing sites
Gas fuel analysis
gas analysis
energy sources
strata
Potential energy
Landing
partial pressure
potential energy

Keywords

  • CheMin
  • clay minerals
  • habitability
  • Mars
  • XRD
  • Yellowknife Bay

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Geophysics

Cite this

Bristow, T. F., Bish, D. L., Vaniman, D. T., Morris, R. V., Blake, D. F., Grotzinger, J. P., ... McAdam, A. C. (2015). The origin and implications of clay minerals from Yellowknife Bay, Gale crater, Mars. American Mineralogist, 100(4), 824-836. https://doi.org/10.2138/am-2015-5077CCBYNCND

The origin and implications of clay minerals from Yellowknife Bay, Gale crater, Mars. / Bristow, Thomas F.; Bish, David L.; Vaniman, David T.; Morris, Richard V.; Blake, David F.; Grotzinger, John P.; Rampe, Elizabeth B.; Crisp, Joy A.; Achilles, Cherie N.; Ming, Doug W.; Ehlmann, Bethany L.; King, Penelope L.; Bridges, John C.; Eigenbrode, Jennifer L.; Sumner, Dawn Y.; Chipera, Steve J.; Moorokian, John Michael; Treiman, Allan H.; Morrison, Shaunna M.; Downs, Robert T; Farmer, Jack D.; Des Marais, David; Sarrazin, Philippe; Floyd, Melissa M.; Mischna, Michael A.; McAdam, Amy C.

In: American Mineralogist, Vol. 100, No. 4, 01.04.2015, p. 824-836.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Bristow, TF, Bish, DL, Vaniman, DT, Morris, RV, Blake, DF, Grotzinger, JP, Rampe, EB, Crisp, JA, Achilles, CN, Ming, DW, Ehlmann, BL, King, PL, Bridges, JC, Eigenbrode, JL, Sumner, DY, Chipera, SJ, Moorokian, JM, Treiman, AH, Morrison, SM, Downs, RT, Farmer, JD, Des Marais, D, Sarrazin, P, Floyd, MM, Mischna, MA & McAdam, AC 2015, 'The origin and implications of clay minerals from Yellowknife Bay, Gale crater, Mars', American Mineralogist, vol. 100, no. 4, pp. 824-836. https://doi.org/10.2138/am-2015-5077CCBYNCND
Bristow TF, Bish DL, Vaniman DT, Morris RV, Blake DF, Grotzinger JP et al. The origin and implications of clay minerals from Yellowknife Bay, Gale crater, Mars. American Mineralogist. 2015 Apr 1;100(4):824-836. https://doi.org/10.2138/am-2015-5077CCBYNCND
Bristow, Thomas F. ; Bish, David L. ; Vaniman, David T. ; Morris, Richard V. ; Blake, David F. ; Grotzinger, John P. ; Rampe, Elizabeth B. ; Crisp, Joy A. ; Achilles, Cherie N. ; Ming, Doug W. ; Ehlmann, Bethany L. ; King, Penelope L. ; Bridges, John C. ; Eigenbrode, Jennifer L. ; Sumner, Dawn Y. ; Chipera, Steve J. ; Moorokian, John Michael ; Treiman, Allan H. ; Morrison, Shaunna M. ; Downs, Robert T ; Farmer, Jack D. ; Des Marais, David ; Sarrazin, Philippe ; Floyd, Melissa M. ; Mischna, Michael A. ; McAdam, Amy C. / The origin and implications of clay minerals from Yellowknife Bay, Gale crater, Mars. In: American Mineralogist. 2015 ; Vol. 100, No. 4. pp. 824-836.
@article{d96c85acc0af4d8e8b5ca3d6987ba53c,
title = "The origin and implications of clay minerals from Yellowknife Bay, Gale crater, Mars",
abstract = "The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) rover Curiosity has documented a section of fluvio-lacustrine strata at Yellowknife Bay (YKB), an embayment on the floor of Gale crater, approximately 500 m east of the Bradbury landing site. X-ray diffraction (XRD) data and evolved gas analysis (EGA) data from the CheMin and SAM instruments show that two powdered mudstone samples (named John Klein and Cumberland) drilled from the Sheepbed member of this succession contain up to ∼20 wt{\%} clay minerals. A trioctahedral smectite, likely a ferrian saponite, is the only clay mineral phase detected in these samples. Smectites of the two samples exhibit different 001 spacing under the low partial pressures of H2O inside the CheMin instrument (relative humidity <1{\%}). Smectite interlayers in John Klein collapsed sometime between clay mineral formation and the time of analysis to a basal spacing of 10 {\AA}, but largely remain open in the Cumberland sample with a basal spacing of ∼13.2 {\AA}. Partial intercalation of Cumberland smectites by metal-hydroxyl groups, a common process in certain pedogenic and lacustrine settings on Earth, is our favored explanation for these differences. The relatively low abundances of olivine and enriched levels of magnetite in the Sheepbed mudstone, when compared with regional basalt compositions derived from orbital data, suggest that clay minerals formed with magnetite in situ via aqueous alteration of olivine. Mass-balance calculations are permissive of such a reaction. Moreover, the Sheepbed mudstone mineral assemblage is consistent with minimal inputs of detrital clay minerals from the crater walls and rim. Early diagenetic fabrics suggest clay mineral formation prior to lithification. Thermodynamic modeling indicates that the production of authigenic magnetite and saponite at surficial temperatures requires a moderate supply of oxidants, allowing circum-neutral pH. The kinetics of olivine alteration suggest the presence of fluids for thousands to hundreds of thousands of years. Mineralogical evidence of the persistence of benign aqueous conditions at YKB for extended periods indicates a potentially habitable environment where life could establish itself. Mediated oxidation of Fe2+ in olivine to Fe3+ in magnetite, and perhaps in smectites provided a potential energy source for organisms.",
keywords = "CheMin, clay minerals, habitability, Mars, XRD, Yellowknife Bay",
author = "Bristow, {Thomas F.} and Bish, {David L.} and Vaniman, {David T.} and Morris, {Richard V.} and Blake, {David F.} and Grotzinger, {John P.} and Rampe, {Elizabeth B.} and Crisp, {Joy A.} and Achilles, {Cherie N.} and Ming, {Doug W.} and Ehlmann, {Bethany L.} and King, {Penelope L.} and Bridges, {John C.} and Eigenbrode, {Jennifer L.} and Sumner, {Dawn Y.} and Chipera, {Steve J.} and Moorokian, {John Michael} and Treiman, {Allan H.} and Morrison, {Shaunna M.} and Downs, {Robert T} and Farmer, {Jack D.} and {Des Marais}, David and Philippe Sarrazin and Floyd, {Melissa M.} and Mischna, {Michael A.} and McAdam, {Amy C.}",
year = "2015",
month = "4",
day = "1",
doi = "10.2138/am-2015-5077CCBYNCND",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "100",
pages = "824--836",
journal = "American Mineralogist",
issn = "0003-004X",
publisher = "Mineralogical Society of America",
number = "4",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - The origin and implications of clay minerals from Yellowknife Bay, Gale crater, Mars

AU - Bristow, Thomas F.

AU - Bish, David L.

AU - Vaniman, David T.

AU - Morris, Richard V.

AU - Blake, David F.

AU - Grotzinger, John P.

AU - Rampe, Elizabeth B.

AU - Crisp, Joy A.

AU - Achilles, Cherie N.

AU - Ming, Doug W.

AU - Ehlmann, Bethany L.

AU - King, Penelope L.

AU - Bridges, John C.

AU - Eigenbrode, Jennifer L.

AU - Sumner, Dawn Y.

AU - Chipera, Steve J.

AU - Moorokian, John Michael

AU - Treiman, Allan H.

AU - Morrison, Shaunna M.

AU - Downs, Robert T

AU - Farmer, Jack D.

AU - Des Marais, David

AU - Sarrazin, Philippe

AU - Floyd, Melissa M.

AU - Mischna, Michael A.

AU - McAdam, Amy C.

PY - 2015/4/1

Y1 - 2015/4/1

N2 - The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) rover Curiosity has documented a section of fluvio-lacustrine strata at Yellowknife Bay (YKB), an embayment on the floor of Gale crater, approximately 500 m east of the Bradbury landing site. X-ray diffraction (XRD) data and evolved gas analysis (EGA) data from the CheMin and SAM instruments show that two powdered mudstone samples (named John Klein and Cumberland) drilled from the Sheepbed member of this succession contain up to ∼20 wt% clay minerals. A trioctahedral smectite, likely a ferrian saponite, is the only clay mineral phase detected in these samples. Smectites of the two samples exhibit different 001 spacing under the low partial pressures of H2O inside the CheMin instrument (relative humidity <1%). Smectite interlayers in John Klein collapsed sometime between clay mineral formation and the time of analysis to a basal spacing of 10 Å, but largely remain open in the Cumberland sample with a basal spacing of ∼13.2 Å. Partial intercalation of Cumberland smectites by metal-hydroxyl groups, a common process in certain pedogenic and lacustrine settings on Earth, is our favored explanation for these differences. The relatively low abundances of olivine and enriched levels of magnetite in the Sheepbed mudstone, when compared with regional basalt compositions derived from orbital data, suggest that clay minerals formed with magnetite in situ via aqueous alteration of olivine. Mass-balance calculations are permissive of such a reaction. Moreover, the Sheepbed mudstone mineral assemblage is consistent with minimal inputs of detrital clay minerals from the crater walls and rim. Early diagenetic fabrics suggest clay mineral formation prior to lithification. Thermodynamic modeling indicates that the production of authigenic magnetite and saponite at surficial temperatures requires a moderate supply of oxidants, allowing circum-neutral pH. The kinetics of olivine alteration suggest the presence of fluids for thousands to hundreds of thousands of years. Mineralogical evidence of the persistence of benign aqueous conditions at YKB for extended periods indicates a potentially habitable environment where life could establish itself. Mediated oxidation of Fe2+ in olivine to Fe3+ in magnetite, and perhaps in smectites provided a potential energy source for organisms.

AB - The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) rover Curiosity has documented a section of fluvio-lacustrine strata at Yellowknife Bay (YKB), an embayment on the floor of Gale crater, approximately 500 m east of the Bradbury landing site. X-ray diffraction (XRD) data and evolved gas analysis (EGA) data from the CheMin and SAM instruments show that two powdered mudstone samples (named John Klein and Cumberland) drilled from the Sheepbed member of this succession contain up to ∼20 wt% clay minerals. A trioctahedral smectite, likely a ferrian saponite, is the only clay mineral phase detected in these samples. Smectites of the two samples exhibit different 001 spacing under the low partial pressures of H2O inside the CheMin instrument (relative humidity <1%). Smectite interlayers in John Klein collapsed sometime between clay mineral formation and the time of analysis to a basal spacing of 10 Å, but largely remain open in the Cumberland sample with a basal spacing of ∼13.2 Å. Partial intercalation of Cumberland smectites by metal-hydroxyl groups, a common process in certain pedogenic and lacustrine settings on Earth, is our favored explanation for these differences. The relatively low abundances of olivine and enriched levels of magnetite in the Sheepbed mudstone, when compared with regional basalt compositions derived from orbital data, suggest that clay minerals formed with magnetite in situ via aqueous alteration of olivine. Mass-balance calculations are permissive of such a reaction. Moreover, the Sheepbed mudstone mineral assemblage is consistent with minimal inputs of detrital clay minerals from the crater walls and rim. Early diagenetic fabrics suggest clay mineral formation prior to lithification. Thermodynamic modeling indicates that the production of authigenic magnetite and saponite at surficial temperatures requires a moderate supply of oxidants, allowing circum-neutral pH. The kinetics of olivine alteration suggest the presence of fluids for thousands to hundreds of thousands of years. Mineralogical evidence of the persistence of benign aqueous conditions at YKB for extended periods indicates a potentially habitable environment where life could establish itself. Mediated oxidation of Fe2+ in olivine to Fe3+ in magnetite, and perhaps in smectites provided a potential energy source for organisms.

KW - CheMin

KW - clay minerals

KW - habitability

KW - Mars

KW - XRD

KW - Yellowknife Bay

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84928151591&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84928151591&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.2138/am-2015-5077CCBYNCND

DO - 10.2138/am-2015-5077CCBYNCND

M3 - Article

VL - 100

SP - 824

EP - 836

JO - American Mineralogist

JF - American Mineralogist

SN - 0003-004X

IS - 4

ER -