Compositional variations in sands of the Bagnold Dunes, Gale Crater, Mars, from visible-shortwave infrared spectroscopy and comparison with ground truth from the Curiosity Rover
During its ascent up Mount Sharp, the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover traversed the Bagnold Dune Field. We model sand modal mineralogy and grain size at four locations near the rover traverse, using orbital shortwave infrared single scattering albedo spectra and a Markov-Chain Monte Carlo implementation of Hapke's radiative transfer theory to fully constrain uncertainties and permitted solutions. These predictions, evaluated against in situ measurements at one site from the Curiosity rover, show that XRD-measured mineralogy of the basaltic sands is within the 95% confidence interval of model predictions. However, predictions are relatively insensitive to grain size and are non-unique, especially when modeling the composition of minerals with solid solutions. We find an overall basaltic mineralogy and show subtle spatial variations in composition in and around the Bagnold dunes, consistent with a mafic enrichment of sands with cumulative transport distance by sorting of olivine, pyroxene, and plagioclase grains during aeolian saltation. Furthermore, the large variations in Fe and Mg abundances (~20 wt%) at the Bagnold Dunes suggest that compositional variability induced by wind sorting may be enhanced by local mixing with proximal sand sources. Our estimates demonstrate a method for orbital quantification of composition with rigorous uncertainty determination and provide key constraints for interpreting in situ measurements of compositional variability within martian aeolian sandstones.
Additional publication details
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Title||Compositional variations in sands of the Bagnold Dunes, Gale Crater, Mars, from visible-shortwave infrared spectroscopy and comparison with ground truth from the Curiosity Rover|
|Series title||Journal of Geophysical Research E: Planets|
|Publisher||American Geophysical Union|
|Contributing office(s)||Earthquake Science Center|