October 14, 2014

Olivine and pyroxene diversity in the crust of Mars

Mustard J.F., Poulet F., Gendrin A., Bibring J.-P., Langevin Y., Gondet B., Mangold N., Bellucci G., Altieri F.

Summary: Data from the Observatoire pour la Minéralogie, l'Eau, les Glaces, et l'Activité (OMEGA) on the Mars Express spacecraft identify the distinct mafic, rock-forming minerals olivine, low-calcium pyroxene (LCP), and high-calcium pyroxene (HCP) on the surface of Mars. Olivine- and HCP-rich regions are found in deposits that span the age range of geologic units. However, LCP-rich regions are found only in the ancient Noachian-aged units, which suggests that melts for these deposits were derived from a mantle depleted in aluminum and calcium. Extended dark regions in the northern plains exhibit no evidence of strong mafic absorptions or absorptions due to hydrated materials.