An integrated view of the chemistry and mineralogy of martian soils

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The mineralogical and elemental compositions of the martian soil are indicators of chemical and physical weathering processes. Using data from the Mars Exploration Rovers, we show that bright dust deposits on opposite sides of the planet are part of a global unit and not dominated by the composition of local rocks. Dark soil deposits at both sites have similar basaltic mineralogies, and could reflect either a global component or the general similarity in the compositions of the rocks from which they were derived. Increased levels of bromine are consistent with mobilization of soluble salts by thin films of liquid water, but the presence of olivine in analysed soil samples indicates that the extent of aqueous alteration of soils has been limited. Nickel abundances are enhanced at the immediate surface and indicate that the upper few millimetres of soil could contain up to one per cent meteoritic material.
Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title An integrated view of the chemistry and mineralogy of martian soils
Series title Nature
DOI 10.1038/nature03637
Volume 436
Issue 7047
Year Published 2005
Language English
Publisher Springer Nature
Contributing office(s) Astrogeology Science Center
Description 6 p.
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title Nature
First page 49
Last page 54
Other Geospatial Mars
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