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Chemistry of rocks and soils at Meridiani Planum from the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer.

Science (New York, N.Y.)

Water, Sulfates, Spectrometry, X-Ray Emission, Spacecraft, Silicates, Minerals, Mars, Magnesium, Iron, Geologic Sediments, Ferric Compounds, Extraterrestrial Environment, Elements, Chlorine, Bromine, Alpha Particles, Sulfur

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      Abstract

      The Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer on the Opportunity rover determined major and minor elements of soils and rocks in Meridiani Planum. Chemical compositions differentiate between basaltic rocks, evaporite-rich rocks, basaltic soils, and hematite-rich soils. Although soils are compositionally similar to those at previous landing sites, differences in iron and some minor element concentrations signify the addition of local components. Rocky outcrops are rich in sulfur and variably enriched in bromine relative to chlorine. The interaction with water in the past is indicated by the chemical features in rocks and soils at this site.

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      Chemical composition of Martian fines

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        Detection of crystalline hematite mineralization on Mars by the Thermal Emission Spectrometer: Evidence for near-surface water

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          Jarosite and hematite at Meridiani Planum from Opportunity's Mossbauer Spectrometer.

          Mossbauer spectra measured by the Opportunity rover revealed four mineralogical components in Meridiani Planum at Eagle crater: jarosite- and hematite-rich outcrop, hematite-rich soil, olivine-bearing basaltic soil, and a pyroxene-bearing basaltic rock (Bounce rock). Spherules, interpreted to be concretions, are hematite-rich and dispersed throughout the outcrop. Hematitic soils both within and outside Eagle crater are dominated by spherules and their fragments. Olivine-bearing basaltic soil is present throughout the region. Bounce rock is probably an impact erratic. Because jarosite is a hydroxide sulfate mineral, its presence at Meridiani Planum is mineralogical evidence for aqueous processes on Mars, probably under acid-sulfate conditions.
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            Journal
            10.1126/science.1104358
            15576611

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