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Diagenetic silica enrichment and late-stage groundwater activity in Gale crater, Mars

J. Frydenvang 1, 2, * P. J. Gasda 1 J. A. Hurowitz 3 J. P. Grotzinger 4 R. C. Wiens 1 H. E. Newsom 5 K. S. Edgett 6 J. Watkins 4 J. C. Bridges 7 S. Maurice 8 M. R. Fisk 9 J. R. Johnson 10 W. Rapin 4 N. T. Stein 4 S. M. Clegg 1 S. P. Schwenzer 11 C. C. Bedford 11 P. Edwards 7 N. Mangold 12 A. Cousin 8 R. B. Anderson 13 V. Payré 14 D. Vaniman 15 D. F. Blake 16 N. L. Lanza 1 S. Gupta 17 J. van Beek 6 V. Sautter 18 P. -Y. Meslin 8 M. Rice 19 R. Milliken 20 R. Gellert 21 L. Thompson 22 B. C. Clark 23 D. Y. Sumner 24 A. A. Fraeman 25 K. M. Kinch 2 M. B. Madsen 2 I. G. Mitrofanov 26 I. Jun 25 F. Calef 25 A. R. Vasavada 25
Abstract : Diagenetic silica enrichment in fracture-associated halos that crosscut lacustrine and unconformably overlying aeolian sedimentary bedrock is observed on the lower north slope of Aeolis Mons in Gale crater, Mars. The diagenetic silica enrichment is colocated with detrital silica enrichment observed in the lacustrine bedrock yet extends into a considerably younger, unconformably draping aeolian sandstone, implying that diagenetic silica enrichment postdates the detrital silica enrichment. A causal connection between the detrital and diagenetic silica enrichment implies that water was present in the subsurface of Gale crater long after deposition of the lacustrine sediments and that it mobilized detrital amorphous silica and precipitated it along fractures in the overlying bedrock. Although absolute timing is uncertain, the observed diagenesis likely represents some of the most recent groundwater activity in Gale crater and suggests that the timescale of potential habitability extended considerably beyond the time that the lacustrine sediments of Aeolis Mons were deposited.
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Submitted on : Thursday, May 12, 2022 - 11:28:56 AM
Last modification on : Wednesday, May 25, 2022 - 11:05:35 AM

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J. Frydenvang, P. J. Gasda, J. A. Hurowitz, J. P. Grotzinger, R. C. Wiens, et al.. Diagenetic silica enrichment and late-stage groundwater activity in Gale crater, Mars. Geophysical Research Letters, American Geophysical Union, 2017, 44, pp.4716-4724. ⟨10.1002/2017GL073323⟩. ⟨insu-03665968⟩

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