In the native rocks of Gail Crater on Mars, researchers have found signs of significant influence of groundwater. The impact occurred in the early stages of the planet’s existence. Results of data analysis of Rover Curiosity Published In the journal Geophysical Research Planets.
The research team used data from the Curiosity Rover’s remote sensing device ChemCam (Chemistry and Camera Complex) obtained during a study of the Glenn Torridon area in Gail Crater. This device combines laser-spark emission spectrometry with an RMI telescope. The complex allows for the analysis of physical and chemical changes in rocks.
Researchers have recorded numerous dark circular “nodules” in the rocks. Such structures usually form on soft debris. Scientists say dark nodules form on Earth and in lakes, suggesting a similar origin to the rock of Mars.
Curiosity noticed large dark and white veins with strange chemical composition, including high dark layers of iron and manganese and thin threads rich in fluorine.
“These veins are very confusing. In the early stages of the crater’s existence, we assume that when the impact heats up the surrounding rocks, groundwater flows through them. We think that this hot water probably extracted fluorine-like elements from these rocks. High concentrations of fluoride are commonly found only in terrestrial hydropower systems. We did not expect to find such chemically veins in Glen Torridon.– Speak up Patrick Gasda, co-author of the study from the Los Alamos National Laboratory for Space and Remote Sensing
Researchers believe that the crater has undergone significant changes under the influence of groundwater. The rock beneath the crater, in the opinion of the authors, remained hotter than previously thought, which explains the high concentration of fluorine-like elements in the groundwater. For a long time after the formation of the crater, this groundwater actively circulates in it and forms layers of different chemicals on the rocks.
The main purpose of the rover’s mission was to explore the region so that it could detect the transition from early, hot and humid Mars to cold and dry. – Gasda adds. – This area is probably the last stage of the existence of Wet Mars, and we would like to study the remains of the lake to find out what happened just before the planet’s climate change.
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